Kehler, Whitfield named students of the month

Ashley Kehler -
Ashley Kehler
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MARYSVILLE Family and faith matter the most to the latest scholars selected for the Marysville Kiwanis and Soroptimist Students of the Month for December. Ashley Kehler and John Whitfield are both seniors at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and both attribute their success to the help or nagging of their parents.
Kehler is the quintessential girl-next-door, known around campus for her bright smile and positive attitude, and the Everett native won the Most Inspirational Award from the M-P varsity volleyball team this year due to her positive reinforcement of her team mates and work ethic.
She carries a 3.7 Grade Point Average and has been on the honor roll all four years of her high school tenure, taking tough subjects such as biology, chemistry and Advanced Placement statistics. Kehler took the Presidents Education Award in 2004 and received the highest grade from history teacher Lynn Dykgraafs classes. She said Dykgraaf made the subject come alive for her.
I really like history, Kehler said. He just made it really interesting.
Her other favorite subjects are physical education and the marketing classes taught by long time DECA advisor Jim Pankiewicz.
We do a lot of interesting things for the school and the community, Kehler said, noting a trip to the Baxter Senior Community Center to serve meals on senior appreciation day last summer.
A born jock, Kehler cops to being a tom boy in her younger days, and she has played on the basketball and volleyball teams, as well as running and throwing the javelin for the track and field team.
Ive played basketball since I was in first grade, Kehler said.
Now she is a setter and leader on the varsity volleyball team where she calls some of the plays. Kehler is particularly proud of the M-P girls team winning the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association award for academic excellence and told the Marysville School Board when she was presented with her award at their
Jan. 3 meeting.
We had the best GPA altogether, Kehler said proudly.
Marketing teacher Mr. P said Kehler is known for the huge amount of volunteer work she performs off-campus and for her positive, sunny disposition.
She smiles everyday, said Pankiewicz. She smiles a little less if shes not in a good mood. She just is a good-hearted, sincere warm person that smiles everyday. Shes just a sweetheart of a kid.
For her part Kehler attributes her success to her family, including father Steve and mom Liz, her brother and grandparents. Her Christian faith teaches her to be a good person and keeps a lot of other kids out of trouble. She is leaning toward being a kindergarten teacher and has tentative plans to attend Grand Canyon Christian College in Phoenix, Ariz.
I come from a very Christian household and my brother attends that school so its a plus to go there, Kehler said.
John Whitfield will probably attend a Division 3 college and play soccer on an academic scholarship, but giving up on his high school transcript was never an option. He said his 3.96 GPA is no accident, thanks to the constant motivation of parents Don and Debbie Whitfield.
They are just always on me, he sighed, adding that soccer is a huge part of his life but learning will be the cushion if that doesnt pan out. Im just motivated because I always wanted to do well and to be able to go to any college that I wanted to.
The likely suspects are two Oregon institutions, George Fox University near Portland and Linfield College in McMinnville; at either school he plans to major in business administration or computer science.
I really like business and math, and Im really interested in computers, Whitfield said, adding that he didnt know if he would continue in his fathers insurance business.
Whitfield plays outside right mid-field on the M-P soccer team and a select Snohomish county team and has been on the varsity high school team since his freshman year.
Im hoping to play soccer in college, Whitfield said. Ill always have my academics to fall back on.
Like Kehler, Whitfield excels in history and is no slouch at math either. It helps that he has a sticky memory and can recall lots of facts and figures with ease.
Its pretty easy for me. I dont think Id be able to say the same thing for science, I dont think I could remember formulas and stuff, he explained. Im really good with numbers and I like problem solving.
His transcript reflects several AP classes including biology, statistics, comparative politics and language and composition. He was been on the honor rolls for two years and won a leadership award for outstanding achievements in math; he is a teaching assistant in the subject. In addition to volunteering at the local food bank and visiting nursing homes, Whitfield said one of his best learning experiences came from hosting an exchange student from Norway.
It was a really good experience to understand something of another culture, Whitfield said, adding that he was surprised how similar the two countries were. He quickly bonded with the exchange student. His English wasnt so great at the beginning but he got better. It was really cool because we became really good friends.
Whitfield still talks to Eskio Hytten every two or three days and will visit him in Norway after a school-sponsored trip later this year. He has also made missionary trips, one to the devastated Gulf Coast to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, one to help the poor in a northern Idaho town, and another to volunteer at an orphanage in Mexico. The trip to Mississippi made an impression, he said.
When we got there, there was still so much stuff that hadnt been cleaned up, Whitfield said, noting that this was 18 months after the disaster and residents were still living in trailers. Some were unable to return to their homes because the houses were declared public health hazards and were taped shut by authorities. During his trip he helped put new siding on a house.
I dont think people really know about stuff I do with my youth group and stuff I do with my church, he said.

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