Meet NKN’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian

By Jordan Wolfe

With a playful smile, Max Hooley, Neah-Kah-Nie High School Salutatorian for the class of 2016, said “I’m used to taking second place to Alaina.”

Alaina Holm, Neah-Kah-Nie High School Valedictorian for the class of 2016, said the title was not her end-goal for her high school career.

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“When I was a Freshman, I made a goal – not written, but internal – to do well. My parents pushed me to do my best and have a nice transcript.”

Hooley said that, during their early years of high school, the top academic standing for their class would fluctuate between he and Holm.

“She gets A’s that are 98 percent. Mine are, like, 92. She exceeds in education.”

Aside from social studies teacher Scott Ross, which both students cite as one of their best and most difficult teachers, Holm said biology teacher Beth Gienger was a standout educator for her. Hooley said Marisa Bayouth, Language Arts teacher, was influential to him, in retrospect.

“She was really hard. At the time, I didn’t enjoy it, but looking back, I appreciate her class more.”

Both students said they were actively involved in extracurricular activities throughout high school.

“I really enjoyed the team bonding experience with basketball, and the team playing at state and in playoffs,” Holm said.

Hooley, equipped with his tenor saxophone, said he enjoyed his time in band.

“I didn’t play my Freshman year because I didn’t want to start high school really overwhelmed – it was a zero period, I think – Towards the end of my Sophomore year, I joined. I’m thinking of playing in college.”

NKN Valedictorians 1 CMYK

After their grab their diplomas on June 3, Holm and Hooley both said they will be going to a University in the fall.

At the time of this writing, Hooley said he has a fairly clear path ahead of him.

“I am attending the University of Portland and declared Biology as my major; I hope to be a Physician’s Assistant.”

Holm, with varied interests, said she is not sure of where her path will lead her at Oregon State University.

“Nothing jumps out at me right now. I love biology, I love history, and I have played piano since First grade. I am looking forward to exploring and learning more and just to get out and have more experiences.”