Top Ten: Journey to academic excellence

June is a busy time for seniors at Oak Harbor High School.

If they aren’t busy cramming for that all-important final, they’re doing whatever they can do to alleviate that dreaded, yet inevitable, bought of senoritas.

Whatever their situation, most seniors have one goal in mind, and it’s right around the corner.

Oak Harbor High School’s Commencement Ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at Wildcat Memorial Stadium, with the gates opening at 4:45 p.m. for seating.

Out of all graduating seniors, 10 stand out as the best of the best academically. This year, seven students tied as No. 1 in their class, each set to graduate with a perfect 4.0.

Here’s a look at Oak Harbor High School’s top 10 seniors:

Seth Gluth

With a GPA of 4.0, Gluth has gotten used to excellence, but that hasn’t made him go soft.

He said he plans on attending Washington State University in the fall to study mechanical engineering, before entering the Navy as an officer bent on becoming a helicopter pilot.

An avid soccer player, Gluth said he plays the sport because he “loves the complexity of the game.” At OHHS, Gluth has participated in soccer, cross country and football.

Also, Gluth wanted incoming freshman to know that “high school is what you make of it, so get involved.”

Ezekiel Hocking

Hocking has spent the last two years as a Running Start student at Skagit Valley College, but he hasn’t let that slow him down. With a course load that looks different than his peers, he has still managed to earn a 4.0 GPA and will be graduating with an associates degree this summer.

Running Start is a program Hocking encourages all eligible students to consider.

“If you can do it, I say do it,” he said. “It’s good experience, and it’s fun.”

Come fall, Hocking plans to take a year off of academics to get his feet wet in different industries.

First on the list is to get a job with the outdoor recreation program at the base, a program he has spent the last four years volunteering for.

Juliann Jansen

Also in the 4.0 club, Jansen said she plans to attend Northwestern College in Iowa in the fall, majoring in elementary education with a minor in chemistry.

She will be seeking a secondary education endorsement and a coaching endorsement.

Jansen plans on bringing her expertise back home, setting her sights on a position teaching middle school science for Oak Harbor Public Schools.

She said that while chemistry is her favorite subject, she encourages all incoming freshman to take advantage of the school’s career and technical education classes.

Notably, Jansen earned 11 varsity letters as a high school athlete.

Jeremy Mitchell

Mitchell continues the trend of high school athletes who hold a 4.0 GPA. He’s earned first-team All-Westco honors in soccer and tennis and also made the varsity team in basketball.

As a volunteer, Mitchell coached youth soccer, where he was able to share his “passion for sports and be a positive influence on the boys.”

Mitchell will pursue a double major in sports management and business administration at Gonzaga University in the fall.

Adam Nelson

4.0-student Adam Nelson will be attending Gonzaga University this fall. During high school, he played basketball and enjoyed math class, but he also found joy volunteering at his church.

Specifically, Neslon said he found real meaning serving as one of the worship leaders for his faith community.

“It has allowed me to grow as a musician while giving me the opportunity to learn from others about worshiping God,” Nelson said.

Jackson Wezeman

Wezeman, also a 4.0-student, wants to find a job involving neural engineering. That is, after he completes a bio-medical engineering degree at the University of Washington.

With four years of varsity tennis under his belt, Wezeman could have hung his extra-curricular hat on his participation in sports, but he also enjoyed tutoring with the National Honors Society.

“It’s cool to help kids understand concepts and to see the ‘light bulb’ moment,” he said.

Mikayla Wilson

Wilson, the final of seven seniors ranked No. 1 this year, will be quite busy in the coming months

She will attend fall quarter at Skagit Valley College before studying abroad in Barcelona. When she returns home, she plans to attend Oregon State University.

Active in athletics, Wilson played basketball, volleyball and track, three seasons for each.

She also enjoyed a broadcast communications class she took at another high school.

Wilson wanted to tell each incoming freshman to “study hard and be your own motivation.”

Taylor Edwards

Ranked No. 8 in her class, Edwards comes in with a strong 3.982 GPA. Headed to Utah State University, she plans to study biology before pursuing a career in orthodontia.

Edwards played soccer all four years of high school and enjoyed volunteering to help kids in need through Teddy Bear Breakfast. She also encourages others to strive toward academic success.

“My advice for other students who want to achieve academic success is to work hard, never give up and if given the opportunity to improve your grades, take it,” Edwards said.

Joshua Margraf

With a solid 3.98 GPA, Margraf takes the penultimate spot on the top 10, ranked No. 9. He will attend Gonzaga University, with plans to study mechanical engineering.

While he enjoyed wrestling, golf, cross country and baseball, Margaf said his most rewarding activity was working with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, saying it was in favorite place to volunteer.

“I got to make a difference in the life of a little kid and got to ‘re-live’ elementary school,” Margaf said.

Carolynn Wicker

Wicker secured her spot on the top 10 list with a 3.958 GPA and will be packing her bags for California come fall.

She said she will study psychology and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

When she wasn’t wearing out her running shoes during track and cross country, Wicker could typically be found participating in leadership activities or working with children.

“I like to volunteer at the local elementary schools because kids are always so creative and fun, and sometimes they can teach me new things,” Wicker said.