Class of 2018: Grad Spotlights
Class of 2018: Grad Spotlights
Posted on 07/22/2018
three students

We are so proud of our members of the Class of 2018! So many of our students have inspired us through their perseverance, their talents and their hope for the future. We’d like to share just a few stories of graduates who inspired us that you may not have heard from at the graduation ceremony. Add your student’s story on social media with #kssgrads!

Note: Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Haley Kanwischer

Haley at graduation

At one time, Haley Kanwischer wasn’t sure she would graduate. After her mother’s death during Haley’s freshman year, she fell into depression and “bad habits.” She knew she would need to pass every single class her senior year to graduate. But not only did she earn her diploma. She left a visible, long-term mark on her school.

Q: What are you going to do after you graduate?

A: I’m going to Olympic College for two years. My first year is going to be basic studies, and then my second year is going to be introduction to graphic design. Then I’m going to transfer to Central Washington University. I’m going to study graphic design and creative writing. I want to make logos and I also want to create my own children’s books and illustrate them myself.

Q: Did you think you were going to go to college?

A: I was planning to go into the military. But then I started getting into art and singing. And I thought, “I want to be a music teacher.” Then in 11th grade, I loved my English class so much, I thought, “I want to be a Literature teacher.” I was just all over the place. But my English teacher, Mr. Tracewell, said you’re good at drawing, your good with technology …

Q: What’s on the mural?

[Background: A Klahowya security staff member encouraged Haley to expand on a doodle. Haley took the drawing to her art teacher to refine it into a mural, petitioned for funds from the ASB, and received permission from school administrators. The mural was painted this school year on a south-side hallway of the school.]

A: It starts with a brain on the left side, the earth in the center, and a graduation cap at the end. It's supposed to be your growth and development. It starts with your development, and then you go into learning more about the world and diversity and when you graduate from high school, it’s one of your first big accomplishments.

The words say, “It all starts with you.” Because it does. It all starts with how you experience this and your take on what you learn.

Reece Duitsman

reece duitsman

Reece Duitsman has wanted to serve in the U.S. Army, like his father, since he was a kid. With his parents’ permission, he enlisted at 17 and started training last summer. Soon, he’ll go to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for more training before heading to Kuwait.

Q: What activities have you been involved in?

A: Ever since I was five, I’ve been playing football. I didn’t play varsity until my senior year. It’s rough being a junior when you have 27 seniors on your team. When I got to varsity, I felt pretty good. This was something I’d been working for a long time. And then my second game, I tore my MCL (in the knee). Someone fell on my leg and I tried to keep on playing. I was out for three weeks, but I was able to come back for the last three games.

Q: What is some of the best advice you’ve gotten in school?

A: Mr. Tracewell said peoples’ dreams align with almost everyone else, so they’re flocking to the same spot. You can find opportunities elsewhere when one place is saturated. It’s kind of like what my dad told me. After the Great Recession, a lot of people moved to digital, now there’s not enough people in trades. He’s a tradesman.

Q: What about serving in the Army appeals to you the most?

A: You’re getting to go out there and serve your country. The way I see the country, is like a parent. It provides everything you have. Everything we have here was made possible by the country and all the people that fought for it. What better cause is there than fighting for that?

Garrett Killough


Garrett Killough wasn’t sure that he would graduate on time. But encouragement from his grandmother and a lot of hard work got him back on track. He walked in Klahowya’s graduation ceremony on June 16, 2018 with the rest of his classmates. He’s currently searching for work.

Q: What have you been involved in at school?

A: I’ve worked in the special education classroom since ninth grade (as a peer tutor). I used to take them to PE, I’ve taken them to cooking class and pottery, and places like that. In eighth grade, I was in PE and a teacher brought a couple of special Ed. kids to PE. Most kids, we were making fun of them and laughing at them, and it made me upset. So I went and talked to the special Ed. kids, and the teacher said that it seemed like I would get along with them and then I should come to the class next year. So in ninth grade, I went to a class and I've done it ever since. I like helping them because they can’t really do a lot of it themselves.

Q: What is some of the best advice you’ve gotten in school?

A: Save my money. And be careful of the crowd of people that you put yourself in.  It definitely made me think a little bit. There are actually quite a few staff members who’ve made a really big impact.

Q: What do you want people to remember about you?

A: I worked hard. I had to do a lot of extra work to graduate on time, and I’m proud of myself because I stuck through and did it all. I made sure that I could graduate and make my grandma happy. [He fell behind and struggled with math in his 9th and 10th grades.]

I was behind on my credits and I had to do 14 hours outside of school to get the credit that I needed. I started applying myself, trying harder, thinking this actually matters. School actually matters. Once I matured a little bit, I finally understood.