Baha'i News -- 2002 graduates ready to approach varied futures

2002 graduates ready to approach varied futures

After the much-awaited tossing of the caps and shedding of the gowns, some members of the Spokane Valley's graduating class of 2002 will have time to relax and enjoy the summer sun, while others will leave for boot camp, year-round colleges or jump right into the full-time work force.

The young graduates will pursue futures as varied as their backgrounds. They will head out into the world seeking to be enlightened and to learn as much as they can about life.

Some plan to pursue careers in health, criminal justice and education. Some will go on to be Navy pilots, gourmet chefs, architects or cartoonists.

In the short term, some will travel and others will stick close to home and think about their options.

Whatever the destination, one thing is clear: The future looks good for this spring's Valley graduates.

Here is a small sampling of what's in store for the next generation of bright young minds:

Jamie Allen of West Valley High School was in the seventh grade when she realized her calling was to cook.

Her family took a road trip to California's Napa Valley, and visited a culinary arts school along the way, where they ate dinner and watched up-and-coming chefs at work. It was then, she said, that she knew she would be bringing home the bacon by cooking it.

"Since then I have always thought it was really cool," said Allen.

On July 30, Allen will get her chance to realize her dream when she heads to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

"CIA is pretty much the best (culinary arts school) in the country. It's one of the only schools that focuses only on culinary education," Allen said.

During the three-year, year-round program at CIA, Allen hopes to earn a bachelor of arts degree in culinary arts and business management.

From there, she says graduates from the institute have a variety of jobs available to them, anywhere from work with television food networks, to writing books, or becoming a traditional chef in a restaurant or a private chef for individual families.

Allen said she is not sure which pursuit she will eventually choose, but that being a private chef appealed to her most.

"I will have to check them out and see what I like," she said. "I like to try new things. We'll see."

For Chad Borjessen of East Valley High School, the call came naturally.

He comes from a long line of community servants, with many relatives serving in the fire department, he said.

At first he thought he wanted to be a paramedic, but then he studied what police officers do and decided that would be a better fit for him.

"Police officers get to clean up the streets and I figured that would be a good way for me to use my time," Borjessen said.

Borjessen already has 350 logged hours of community service with the Spokane Police Department Explorer program, and has completed two weeks of basic and advanced police training through the Explorers.

He plans on heading to Washington State University in the fall, where he expects to earn a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice. After college, he would like to get on with the Spokane Police Department.

Eventually he would like to work for the FBI or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

"I like the fact that there is never a dull moment, and that you are always busy. It appeals to me," Borjessen said.

Valley Christian School's Ryan Miller simply wants to experience life after high school.

While Miller has no concrete college plans, he hopes to earn some money this summer working a full-time job in the construction industry, and then possibly do some work on his associate's degree at Spokane Community College.

Miller said he might also consider the possibility of going to work for his father in the network consulting business. His dad owns Network Design and Management in downtown Spokane.

But really, he just wants to figure it all out before making any decisions.

"I am still thinking about it all," Miller said. "Hopefully, as I get out there and experience things, I can get a feel for what I do best, and go from there."

Ruhiyyih Olsen of Central Valley High School will have plenty of time this summer to think about her future, both spiritually and career-wise.

As a member of the Baha'i faith, the 17-year-old plans to go to a little town in northern Finland called Inari, where she will live for nine months and work as a caretaker at a Baha'i center. She will also teach children's classes.

"I hope to be of service and learn more about myself and what I want out of life," Olsen said.

Her college plans are unclear, and she is hoping that her time spent serving her faith will help clear her head for the future. She said she wants to go into either fine arts and be an oil painter or perhaps become a teacher. She is considering art school at the Art Institute of Chicago, or community college, then Western Washington University.

The mission, which her older brother and sister both participate in, is similar to that of the Mormon faith, except that it is totally voluntary, and you get to chose where you go, Olsen said.

She chose Finland because she is part Sami, an Aboriginal people of Scandinavia, so this is also a chance to connect with her heritage.

"This is a way to serve my faith, and I am really excited about the education you get from traveling, and being around different peoples," Olsen said. "I love to see different cultures and things."

Valley Christian's Julia Makhanov plans to attend the University of Washington, where she hopes to earn a degree in the health science field. She said she would like to become a physician's assistant or maybe even a doctor.

Makhanov will work two jobs this summer to earn money for college, and mull over her options.

She will volunteer at Seattle area hospitals, and try to work as a nurse's aide to help her chances of getting into MEDEX Northwest, the University of Washington School of Medicine's physician assistant program.

Makhanov said the program is designed for experienced health care personnel - typically, those who already have jobs in health care or have a two-year degree in the field - but she will do her best to get in. Until then, she just wants to enjoy college life.

"I could totally change my mind, but for now we will see what works out," Makhanov said. "I want to get into the college scene, just be there and start doing something, and not just sit around and never get any education."

Tina Terry isn't wasting any time. After graduating from Valley Christian, she ships out June 18 for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where she hopes to one day become a JAG officer, or a Navy pilot.

Her first six weeks of summer will be spent at pre-academy boot camp, where she will most likely spend a lot of time looking at the floor while doing a few push ups.

But for Terry, the military lifestyle was one that appealed to her. She said she loves the idea of being fit, disciplined, and challenged.

"My dad was in the Marine Corps. I kind of grew up hearing his stories," Terry said. "I always knew I wanted it."

Getting an appointment to the Naval Academy is difficult. Twelve thousand students applied this year, Terry said, and only 1,200 were accepted.

She is no stranger to challenges.

Her parents, Mike and Viki Terry, moved to Mississippi a year ago so her father could attend seminary. Dedicated to her college plans, she stayed behind to graduate with her class, and make sure everything on her application was in order.

"It's been hard, but it's nice that I get to talk to them a lot on the phone," Terry said of her parents. "But I wanted to be able to graduate with my class, and with the application process, my moving might have messed things up.

But, at least it's helped, because I won't be homesick at the academy," Terry added. "I've pretty much gotten over that."

Rebekkah McCoy of Central Valley hopes to head somewhere over the rainbow.

She has been accepted to Collins College in Tempe, Ariz., where she will work for a two-year degree in computer animation.

She wants to make movies for Disney - and become famous, of course.

"I have always wanted to be a cartoonist, but technology has gone so far that cartooning isn't the main thing anymore," McCoy said. "So I thought computer animation would be better.

"You really have to have the will, and the love to draw," she added. "You just start out drawing, and then start putting those drawings into the computer."

And drawing is what McCoy does best. She has been taking art classes during her entire high school career and spends much of her free time drawing.

McCoy, not sure where she was headed, went to the College Fair at the Spokane Convention Center, where she met a representative from Collins. She also applied to the Seattle Art Institute, but realized that living in Seattle is too expensive and that she likes the sun too much to live there.

She leaves July 22 for Arizona, where she will begin her two- year, year-round program.

What does Nathan Parker of Freeman High School have in common with former President Bill Clinton and basketball star Patrick Ewing?

Hoyas. That's right.

Parker will start this fall at Georgetown University, where he plans to study biology as part of a pre-med program that he hopes will lead to a career as a physician.

"I have wanted to do this for a while," Parker said of becoming a doctor. I guess I could crunch numbers or something like that for a living, but I wanted to do something I felt was important.

"Plus, (Georgetown) is one of the better universities in the country," Parker added, "and just about far enough away."

Parker, a 4.0 grade-point average student and National Merit Scholarship recipient, said he applied to several Ivy League schools before being accepted to Georgetown.

During his visit to the Washington, D.C., campus, Parker was impressed with the old buildings and aura of the institution established in 1788.

"At first my mom didn't want me to go that far away," Parker said. "But she thinks it's a probably a good idea for me to go."

Parker is the second oldest of five children raised by his mother. He will spend the summer working and raising money for school.


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