Coupeville High School’s Top 10 seniors from the Class of 2017, top row, from left: Delaney Armstrong, Kiara Burdge, Bree Daigneault, Mitchell Carroll, Grey Rische and Lainey Dickson. Bottom row: Nick Dion, Valen Trujillo and JaeLynn LeVine. Not pictured: Rubi Melendrez. Coupeville’s graduation ceremony is at 6 p.m. Friday night at the high school gym. Photos by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Introducing Coupeville High School’s Top 10

Growing up together in a small, rural town, students at Coupeville High School develop a close bond that others don’t often experience in larger communities.

“It has been a blessing,” said senior Grey Rische, who moved to Coupeville from Fairbanks, Alaska, when he was 2.

“I love this small area,” Rische said. “You always see someone you know.”

And it won’t just be classmates that will be missed when the Class of 2017 gathers as a group for what could be the final time during Friday’s commencement at 6 p.m. at the high school/middle school gym.

“You get really nice personal experiences with teachers here,” Nick Dion said.

Seventy-one seniors have been invited to walk in Friday’s ceremony.

Among them is a group that was particularly dedicated to their academics.

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

Lainey Dickson

Ranked No. 1 in her class academically. Dickson finished with a 3.99 GPA. She is planning to attend Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, where she intends to major in political science. At Coupeville, she lettered all four years in cheerleading. She’s taken 12 years of piano lessons, is active in her church and works for her dad Randy Dickson at R&R Tree Service of Coupeville.

Nick Dion

Dion, who carried a 3.97 GPA, is planning to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall to study biomedical engineering. The son of a retired U.S. Navy pilot, Dion wants to return to Washington for medical school then be a physician aboard a U.S. Navy hospital ship. “I’ve always liked medicine and engineering,” Dion said.

“Biomedical engineering is a combination of both.” Dion achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and in high school he won two first-place medals in the state Science Olympiad competition.

Valen Trujillo

Trujillo spent eight years of her early youth working up the ranks to earn a second degree black belt in karate. That athleticism carried over to other sports in high school where she became a two-time league singles champion in tennis and three-time all-league player in volleyball. She also maintained a 3.91 GPA and is bound for George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., where she plans to double major in communications and business.

Delaney Armstrong

After two years at Coupeville High School, Armstrong has taken courses the past two years at Skagit Valley College and boosted her GPA. “I love it. I think it’s easier than high school,” said Armstrong, who earned a 3.7 at Coupeville and 3.9 at Skagit Valley College. “There were a lot more opportunities for more classes that I wanted to take.

The professors are really easy going and supportive.” Armstrong also got involved and got a job in student government at the college. She is planning to attend the University of Oregon to pursue a journalism and public relations program.

Mitchell Carroll

Carroll made his mark on the track at Coupeville with a school record in the triple jump, but it’s in math where he truly excels.

Carroll, who compiled a 3.90 GPA, earned nine podium finishes, including a state first-place honor, in the Science Olympiad.

He is planning to pursue mechanical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Carroll also earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Kiara Burdge

Burdge, who carried a 3.89 GPA, will be attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in the fall to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology. “My father is a clinical psychologist. I grew up around that,” she said.

“Both of my parents are in the field of psychology.” Burdge was student body president this year and captain of the Wolves’ varsity cheer team.

Grey Rische

Rische’s father got a new job in St. Louis, Mo., so his son will be joining him this summer and preparing to enroll at St. Charles Community College there.

Rische, who finished with a 3.78 GPA, said he loves helping others grasp difficult concepts and watching them succeed, so he’s planning to major in education and become a teacher.

Bree Daigneault

Growing up surrounded by water since the third grade on Whidbey has rubbed off on Daigneault, who would like to pursue a double major in marine biology and public relations at Western Washington University, where she’s off to in the fall.

Daigneault earned a 3.82 GPA at Coupeville, while also being actively involved in soccer and tennis (four seasons apiece) and theater (three years).

She also served as a student representative on the school board during her junior year.

JaeLynn LeVine

Like her mom, LeVine is planning to become a registered nurse. Coupeville’s ASB senior class president, LeVine carried a 3.75 GPA, including a year at Skagit Valley College. She played four seasons of fastpitch for the Wolves and was one of three captains this spring.

As part of an ASB project, she and her team collected more than 1,000 cans during a food drive.

Rubi Melendrez

Melendrez, who earned a 3.73 GPA, is planning to attend Eastern Washington University in the fall. She said she will be the first in her family to go to college. “It’s a big step,” she said.

Melendrez took another big step this spring by playing tennis and wound up making new friends. “It was the best decision,” she said.

“I went out of my comfort zone.”

Rubi Melendrez

Mitchell Carroll Mitchell Carroll.

JaeLynn LeVine.

Nick Dion

Delaney Armstrong

Kiara Burdge.

Bree Daigneault

Grey Rische

Lainey Dickson

Valen Trujillo

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