A Salute to the Lake Roosevelt Graduates

Page 1

Supplement to The Star newspaper • June 10, 2020

Salute to the Graduates

2 - A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020

Top of the class

The valedictorians and salutatorians of the class of 2020 graduate in a fraught time in the country’s history. Their outlooks on life, drawn from their experiences so far, bear strong promise for the future. We’ll let them

speak for themselves, publishing here the speeches they’ve written for their graduating class and the community.

Ellie Hansen, co-valedictorian GPA: 4.0 Best academic subject: math Next up: Washington State University, to pursue an education in physical therapy, something she’s seen a lot of as an athlete at LR. Most important thing she’s learned, academics aside: “Working and persevering through anything … giving it everything you have to whatever you’re doing.” On the current protests across the nation and world demanding equal justice across races: Hansen’s cousin, Terell Johnson, who was black, was shot and killed by police three years ago at the age of 24. They were close, and she feels personally affected by the protests. “It’s encouraging to see so many people speaking up about it. … I hope a change does come.” Parents: Steven and Hope Hansen, Coulee Dam

Ellie Hansen, 2020 co-valedictorian

Ellie’s speech Welcome everyone For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ellie Hansen and I am co-valedictorian for Lake Roosevelts class of 2020. Over the past thirteen years, our class has worked extremely hard to get here, and although this year isn’t what any of us expected, it is definitely one for the history books. We didn’t get the ordinary senior year or traditional graduation, but I would like to thank

the administration for making it as memorable as possible. I would also like to thank my teachers, family, friends and coaches for helping me get where I am today. Throughout the years I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve struggled but persevered and realized the importance of hard work and dedication. Overcoming adversity is something that everyone will experience, and I’ve learned the best way to handle it is to give your all in everything you do. This applies to every aspect of life, whether its school, sports, work, or even a pandemic. In order to accomplish your goals in life you need to be willing to put in the work. Your achievements can be determined by the amount of effort you put in and the perseverance you hold. Make the most of the time you have and don’t wish it away. It goes by faster than you’d ever believe. This has been a year filled with stress, heartache, and anger. Yet, we still hope for the future. We have hope for a better future that we can positively contribute to. A future without institutionalized racism, with technology to successfully combat the next virus and a future where we will be able to freely pursue our dreams, goals, and happiness. Thank you all for coming and supporting our class throughout the years.

Brianna Whybark, co-valedictorian GPA: 4.0 Also graduating with an associate of arts degree from Wenatchee Valley College through the Running Start program. Best academic subject: biology Next up: Pursuing her doctoral degree in pharmacy at WSU over the next seven years. Then move to a small town to be a pharmacist. She loves Grand Coulee and would love to be able to come back. Most important thing she’s learned, academics aside: “Cooperation is key.” Experience in ASB has taught her that working with diverse groups of interests is essential. On the current protests: Although she tries to stay out of politics, she supports change. “Change is a natural thing, and I just want us to get to that change in a peaceful manner.” Parents: Warren and Nevada Whybark, Electric City

Brianna Whybark, 2020 co-valedictorian

Brianna’s speech Hi, I’m Brianna Whybark. I’ve known many of you for as long as I can remember. Others, I have only known for a short while, or don’t really know at all. I am glad to graduate with all of you! Since my dad found out our class was graduating in the year 2020, he has told me that he thinks our class saying should be “2020, perfect vision.” Which is quite ironic for the fact I’ve been wearing

glasses since about the first grade. But I kind of agree with my dad, in the metaphoric sense we should stride into the future with perfect vision. We should stand tall and proud and see our worth with this “perfect vision” of ours. We have finally graduated, and everything that has brought us to this point has made us that much better of a person. From the connections we have made with one another, and the classes that we have struggled through have made us who we are. This school has helped shape us into spectacular human beings who are ready to take this world by storm. We aren’t perfect, no one is. There is no need to be perfect. We are who we are, and even after we graduate, we will keep growing and evolving as people. I truly believe that each of us imperfect beings will become our own idea of successful. For some of us that might entail becoming a doctor, others a welder, or a teacher, or a business owner. Each person is different in this idea of “success”. It’s such a beautiful thing. I hope each and every one of you understand that you are special, important, and irreplaceable. I hope that you have acknowledged that you don’t need to conform to the mainstream ideas of “success”. That each of you know that you can take your own path, a path that your perfect vision leads you down. Thank you.

ABOUT THE COVER - Our cover shows the layout planned for Lake Roosevelt High School’s graduation ceremony for the class of 2020, which is designed in collaboration with the Okanogan County Health Department to comply with state health mandates for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes designated, limited parking areas on school grounds, and a processional driving route on Civic and Central streets in Coulee Dam.

A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020- 3

Co-Salutatorian Wensdae Antoine On the current protests: “I’m very proud of what the country’s doing, with the protests.” She doesn’t condone rioting but notes that many rights have been earned through such times of unrest. Parents: Gretchen Nelson Whitelaw and stepfather Brandon Whitelaw, Grand Coulee. Father, Donovan Antoine.

Wensdae Antoine, 2020 co-salutatorian

GPA: 3.979 Also graduating with an associate of arts degree from Wenatchee Valley College through the Running Start program. Best academic subject: English, but in Running Start at WVC, anthropology Next up: Attending Montana State University and will explore options but currently leaning toward anthropology. In 10 years she’d like to be living on the Oregon coast with a successful career and a dog. Most important thing she’s learned, academics aside: Patience and perhaps discipline. “You learn to take everything as it comes.” That outlook comes from gaining new friends in towns not too far away, but with very different views on the world, an experience she values from Running Start.

Wensdae’s speech Hi everyone. My name is Wensdae Antoine. I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet, but I have a lot to say, so here we go. First of all, before I begin, I’d like to say a couple of thanks. Shout out to my friends who support and accept me, and let me be a nerdy goofball, and who aren’t afraid to be nerdy goofballs in return. Love you guys. Thank you to teachers who made learning fun— Mrs. Johnson with her unmatched sarcasm, to my math professor, Will Kraske, who insisted you call him by his first name because “Mr. Kraske,” “Professor Kraske,” “Dr. Kraske,” and “Mr. Dr. Professor Kraske” are all too formal, and thanks to Mrs. Pitner for reading Gregor the Overlander to my class in the third grade and showing me the joys of a good book. Little did she know, I was halfway through the fourth book in the series by the time she finished the first in class. Finally, thank you to my family—Penny for being my sister, but also my friend. You are shaping up to be such a wonderful person and I’m so proud of you. Thank you to my mom for raising me and pushing me in ways that made me the person I am today, and thank you to my stepdad for helping my mom raise me and for showing me what it means to parent, and to do so unconditionally. Now, many of my classmates know me, I’m a 12-year vet, but some of you may have never ever seen me before and that’s because I’ve spent the last two years attending college classes at Wenatchee Valley College in Omak as a Running Start student. I’m so glad I took advantage of that opportunity and I wouldn’t trade that choice for the world, but what I will say is that I feel like I missed out on a lot of high school experiences, which is why I was so excited to have all of the senior memories promised to me. Now you might see where I’m going with this. I won’t lie; the end of our senior year has kind of sucked. Many of us were born into a world just post 9/11, and childhood is already messy and complicated

but we’ve grown up with the added pressures of social media, some of us remember the Great Recession, we’ve seen countless news stories about the Iraq War, school shootings, and discrimination in every possible definition of the word. We’ve been through so much. What do we have to show for it? We’ve shown ourselves, each other, future graduates, and previous generations that when faced with adversity, we rise stronger. We are strong. You are strong. You matter. I want every single one of you to know that. Having said that, wow. We did it. Today is the beginning of the rest of our lives. Not only do we hold our futures in our hands, we hold the futures of those who come after us. (I know, that’s a lot of pressure, not gonna lie). It feels like just yesterday I was watching Finding Nemo on VHS with my baby sister, or being jealous of all the girls who had those stupid little Silly Bands shaped like animals, or even having my dad beat Super Mario Bros levels for me on my Gameboy Advanced because I thought they were too hard. That was back when I didn’t know how scary the world is. But I also didn’t know about how beautiful it can be, how beautiful humanity can be, or about all the things there are out there to learn and experience. We have a chance here to take the world by storm. The feats of innovation, fearlessness, and unconditional acceptance and kindness many of us have shown so far makes me proud to be part of a generation that is passionate about the things that matter. Today we move on from high school to start new lives, to establish independence, and to begin deciding who we want to be and what we’re going to do. Let’s be good people. Let’s be brave, and empathetic, and strong people. Let’s not be afraid to show the world who we are and create a world where others can do the same. Let’s accomplish what we want to, how we want to, because we want to. What might feel like a tearful goodbye is really a hopeful beginning. Let’s ambush the universe and show them how the class of 2020, the fierce, the unexpected, the breakers of rules and standards and limitations, let’s show them how we do it. Congrats to my peers, the Class of 2020. Get ready to celebrate.

Co-Salutatorian LorRinda Richardson pre-veterinary course. She loves animals and wants to be a small-animal veterinarian. She’s always loved animals and bandaged patient cats as a child. After earning her undergraduate degree, it’s on to veterinary school for four years. Most important thing she’s learned, academics aside: “Change isn’t a bad thing.” She’s changed a lot herself in the last few years, and realizes she’s grown confident through high school. That was bolstered by her leadership role as a track and field team captain last year. On the current protests: “I support them. I wish I could be there.” The current state of emergency due to the pandemic makes that difficult, she notes, but she’s signing and sharing online petitions “so officials will know that this is something the people want.”

LorRinda Richardson 2020 co-salutatorian

GPA: 3.989 Best academic subject: math Next up: Attending Montana State University’s

LorRinda’s speech Hey everyone. I would like to start off by saying welcome to my friends, family, classmates, teachers, and administration and thank you for being here. We all know this ceremony is nothing like we imagined, but the school has worked very hard to make sure it is the best it can possibly be. No matter what this is a celebration of the class of 2020, and all that we have accomplished in the past twelve years. My classmates know the last part of our senior year was nothing like we imagined. I would like to look at our senior year as a trial for life because it’s given us a glimpse into how fast life changes and has shown us that we can handle the uncertainties of our future. The year started off as we expected. We were finally able to

post on social media about our last first day. Finally forced into thinking about our future. Senior year was right on schedule, with senioritiskicking in for almost all of us. Then, just like that it was cut short. We all have our experiences with quarantine, but look at us, despite it all, we made it. We are graduating. We each have much to be proud of, and you are the only one who truly knows what it took to get you here. High School is said to be the best years of our lives, but that’s only because we still have so much more. High school is where we began to learn who we are and who we want to be. It is the beginning of our lives. The past four years have taught me many lessons, both in and out of the classroom. I’ve learned just how influential the people who we surround ourselves with can be. I have changed a great deal since my freshman year, and I will continue to change. In the words of my good ole pal, Ben Franklin, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Today we are officially done with high school. We look back on the past, remembering the good times shared, and look forward to the future with all the possibilities it holds. I would like to quote another one of the greats before ending my speech. Goodbyes are hard but as Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I am grateful to be giving this speech that truth be told I struggled to write. I am grateful to be a part of the class of 2020. We can handle whatever life throws at us!

4 - A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020

Megan Abel Scotti Adolph Wensdae Antoine** Nicholas Baker Connor Batten Tahrae Bear Eagle Jonathan Canté Rosa Carter Traey Clark Ida Sue Dick Sidney Dick Kyle Edmo** Nicholas Engeseth** Colton Fisher Jordan Flett Adam George Kaden Griesse Ellie Hansen** Patrick Hevener Devon Hobrecht-Marconi Trevon Johnson

Tyler Jordan Christian LaPlante Soarin’ Marchand Abbiggale Murray** Allison Nomee Kody Olsen LorRinda Richardson** Jasmine Rodriguez Alexia Ryan Charles “CJ” Saxon** Zack Sellars Cameron St. Pierre Brianna Stanger Piper Steffen Keziah Stice** Joshua Thomas Mikaylah Thompson Madisyn Toulou** Kyla Wells Brianna Whybark** Taila Womer-Wilson

Lake Roosevelt Jr./Sr. High School Presents The Forty-Eighth Annual Commencement Sat., June 13, 2020 • 7:00 p.m. • LRHS Football Field Processional.......................................................... High School Band

Salutatorian Address.... Wensdae Antoine / LorRinda Richardson

The Star-Spangled Banner................................... High School Band

Class Speakers Address...................Megan Abel / Jonathan Canté

Honor Song...................................................................Sonny Doney

Awarding of Diplomas.................. Kirk Marshlain / Sara Kennedy

Senior Video....................................................................Senior Class

Reading of Scholarships, Awards and Honors............................................................ Jess Utz

Presentation of the Class.................................................Paul Turner Valedictorian Address...................Ellie Hansen / Brianna Whybark

Closing and Presentation of the Graduated Class of 2020................ Kirk Marshlain/Sara Kennedy Recessional.......................................................... High School Band

CLASS MOTTO “As each of us follows our President:.......................................Kyle Edmo Honor Graduates with a Cumulative GPA 3.5+.................. Gold path of life we will remember these years. We will Vice President:................ Cameron St. Pierre Honor Graduates with a Cumulative GPA 3.25-3.49.........Silver remember our friends, Secretary:.....................................Megan Abel Denotes Honor Roll Students..................................................** ** the laughter, and the pain. Treasurer:..............................Jonathan Canté National Honor Society Members................................................ Our smiles reflect the memories locked deep ASB Reps.:................................. Rosa Carter within our hearts. ........................ ......................................................................................................... Future dreams shine like ......................................................................... Co-Valedictorians..................Ellie Hansen & Brianna Whybark bright stars against Co-Salutatorians.....Wensdae Antoine & LorRinda Richardson distant nights. Advisors: Hope Hansen & Tammy Norris We have grown so much and yet, we will grow forever.” Junior Marshals: Jozlyn Hansen, Laelah Pakootas CLASS OFFICERS

Sam Wapato, Hunter Whitelaw


A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020- 5

Megan Renee Abel

Scotti Marie Adolph

Wensdae Emersyn Antoine

Nicholas Christian Baker

Connor Edward Batten

Tahrae Ann Bear Eagle

Jonathan Isaac Canté

Rosa Christine Carter

The future is yours!

Good Luck Class of 2020 Congratulations, LRHS Class of 2020

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6 - A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020

Traey Anthiny Clark

Ida Sue Dick

Sidney Marie Dick

Kyle Ignace Edmo

Nicholas Alexander Engeseth

Colton John Fisher

Jordan Anne Flett

Adam Segoviano George


We know the importance of academics, effort and dedication. We live where you live!

To the future!

to the Class of 2020

Congrats Class of 2020! As your State Farm Agent, I am proud to support your dedication and commitment.

BRUCE CHEADLE, Agent 308 Spokane Way Grand Coulee, Wash. 509.633.0280

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Kudos to the class of 2020

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A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020- 7

Kaden Eskild Griesse

Ellie Ruth Hansen

Patrick Alexander Hevener

Devon Tylerlee Hobrecht-Marconi

Trevon Kesean Johnson

Tyler Demetri Jordan

Christian Porter LaPlante

Soarin’ Eagle Marchand

To the future with a healthy smile.

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8 - A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020

Abbiggale Marrie Murray

Allison Mary Mae Nomee

Kody Austin Wayne Olsen

LorRinda Lou Richardson

Congratulations on your dedication. Your life’s journey has just begun.

509-633-2860 www.grandcouleecenterlodge.com

Congratulations Graduates!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020- 9

Our family caring for yours Back Row: Jacie Van Blaricom RD, Chris McGlothlen PA-C, Michael Rimpler CRNA, Roy Myers MD, Cody Ellefsen DO, Andrew Castrodale MD, Barry Bacon MD, Jennifer Knox MD, Rick King PT. Front Row: Andrea Turner CRNA, Wendy Hughes ARNP, Elizabeth Hsu MD, Karen Rimpler ARNP, Sam Hsieh MD, Cheri Butler PA-C, Jacob Chaffee MD, Samantha Brunner PA-C, Adam McConnell MD

We are here to take care of all of your healthcare needs Clinic Services

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Outpatient Services Wound Care IV Infusions Registered Dietician Physical Therapy

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Ancillary Health Services Retail Pharmacy Financial Counseling Social Services Care Coordination

10 - A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020

Jasmine Marie Rodriguez

Alexia Jade Ryan


Charles James “CJ” Saxon

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Congratulations Class of 2020

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A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020- 11

Cameron James St. Pierre

Good Luck Graduates!

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& Ed’s Meat Market

12 - A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020

Joshua Batiste Thomas

Mikaylah Maryingrid Thompson

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A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020- 13

2020 Class of LRHS Alternative High School

James Edward Baker

Tarissa Ruthanne Clark

Nicholas Anthony Dick

Connor Blaise Klingenberg

Congratulations Class of 2020 at three convenient locations

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Located across from the Visitors Center at the dam


at Spring Canyon Located 2 miles west of Spring Canyon Campground


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14 - A Salute to LRHS Class of 2020

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No photos: Ricky Fordham, Rochelle Michel and Mikayla Miley

Erik Alejandro Torres, Jr.

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VOL. 78 - NO. 12


JUNE 19, 2019

Fireworks display had more spectacle than planned Fire crews were ready by Jacob Wagner

A fire burned a patch of land near the canal near North Dam on Saturday night. A fireworks show put on by the Northwest Pyrotechnics Association went awry when a fire erupted and burned between two and three acres. The permitted event had fire personnel standing by for such an occurrence, with four trucks on standby. A press release from Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rick Paris said that the fire started at 10:30 p.m. and that Grand Coulee and Electric City Volunteer Fire Departments were called in to assist Bureau of Reclamation firefighters. The fire burned sagebrush and Virginia “Genabug” Redstar bends to steady a dugout canoe about to back away from the dock at Crescent Bay Friday as a collection of canoes and paddlers headed to Kettle Falls. — Scott Hunter photo

Paddlers for cause launch canoes for Kettle Falls by Jacob Wagner

Several canoes launched from the Crescent Bay boat launch near the Grand Coulee Dam Friday on an eight-day journey toward Kettle Falls. The Inchelium Language and Culture Association, in association with River Warriors and the Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT), organized the event for the third year in a row. A film crew from KSPS was present at the event, which included speakers from these various groups, the singing of a traditional song, and mingling between the paddlers and well-wishers who wanted to see them off.

Many of the paddlers are traveling in traditional dugout cedar canoes. In addition to the paddlers leaving from Crescent Bay for Kettle Falls, another group will leave Castlegar, British Columbia, for Kettle Falls to arrive there at the same time on June 22, where an estimated 300 people will gather for a ceremony, including eating traditionally cooked salmon provided by the Colville Confederated Tribes. Kettle Falls was a traditional fishing spot for thousands of years for local Native American tribes until the flooding caused by the Grand Coulee Dam placed the falls underwater, preventing salmon from swimming into the northern reaches of the Columbia River

and its tributaries. Members of the Colville Tribes, as well as other tribes associated with Kettle Falls, including the Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and Kalispell, will participate in the journey and ceremonies. The event is held largely to raise awareness of the efforts to bring salmon back above the Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams, as well as to show that tribal territories were in both the U.S. and Canada. As of Monday, the canoes coming from Canada were crossing the border, while the canoes that left from Grand Coulee Dam were near Wilmont Falls, southwest of Fruitland.

grass. “There were a lot of flames and smoke; from a distance it looked pretty spectacular,” Paris said. “The firefighting crews were able to extinguish the fire by accessing the fire from the canal road and across private land in the Pleasant Valley area. We appreciated the access from the adjacent landowners.” Paris said the fire fighting was over by about 1:30 a.m., but USBR firefighters watched the area through the night, and a Bureau of Land Management crew finished mopping up Sunday. “There were no structures involved and no injuries reported.” “I was standing right by the fire marshall,” said local man Alan Cain, who is part of the NPA. “We launched a couple stars; one landed right on top of the rock by the dam. We were all admiring it. It kind of looked like a volcano. He said we could continue. The very

State attorney general visits Grand Coulee

by Scott Hunter

The man who leads the state’s legal bureaucracy, basically the state’s own law firm, told an audience in Grand Coulee last week that the smaller part of their work gets the most headlines, but costs taxpayers nothing. That’s because that part of the Attorney General’s Office that takes others to court — actually sues other agencies or private companies — is in essence a state-owned law firm that operates off the settlements or judgments from those suits. But the

vast majority of their work is to directly advise state agencies. Attorney General Bob Ferguson spoke at the Grand Coulee Dam Rotary Club’s luncheon meeting June 12 at Siam Palace. The AG’s office employs about 1,000 people, including about 600 attorneys. Last month, a group of about 30 of them pulled in a big win on behalf of consumers in the state and a big loss for Comcast, Ferguson said. The state contended it wasn’t right for Comcast to sign up people for a service without their

City Administrator To Cambodia and back again The fight against position created human trafficking and a case of in Electric City culture shock Current clerk adds role to job title by Jacob Wagner

The city council approved the creation of the position of “city administrator” and to have current clerk Russ Powers fill the position. The council discussed the need for the position and the justification for the added pay that comes with it for Powers at their June 11 meeting. “So the idea here,” Councilmember Aaron Derr asked, “is we’d have someone at city hall that can make more decisions, given that our mayor will typically have a full-time job and can’t be here on a day-to-day basis?” “Correct,” Mayor John Nor-

dine said. “It makes sense to have somebody here all the time managing the other people that work at the city,” Councilmember Carol Nordine said. “I know when I was [mayor] pro-tem, I pretty much just asked Russ what was going on,” Derr said. Councilmember Birdie Hensley questioned how adding extra duties can fit into Power’s day, considering he already works a full-time position. “Is he working overtime or comp time?” Hensley asked. “There’s eight hours a day and so many days a week. He has added responsibilities; where is he going to put that in the hours of the day? The city administrator is going to take hours away from something else?” “Or we’re finally recognizing how much work the city clerk is doing,” Derr responded. Councilmember Lonna Bussert brought up that it could take more time to relay things to the mayor to make decisions than if a city administrator had the authority to make those decisions himself.

by Jacob Wagner

Imagine how traveling to another country can change your perspective on life. Local cosmetologist Aly Van Geystel doesn t have to imagine, having returned from a monthlong trip to Cambodia, where she taught the trade of cosmetology to former victims of sex trafficking so they can start their own careers. She found out about the Justice and Soul Foundation last year, and decided she wanted to be involved in what they do. A lot of the time,” Van Geystel told The Star before leaving, former victims from human trafficking escape sex trafficking as children, but they don t have any other way to make money so end up back in the sex industry because that s all they know how to do. What Justice and Soul is doing is giving them the opportunity to get back on their feet, learn a trade, and then place them in salons in either Cambodia or in Seattle. Van Geystel left for the month of May, flying from Seattle to Taiwan to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she worked for Justice and Soul and the Kate Korpi Salon See JOB page 2

and Academy. [The] team is amazing, Van Geystel said in a recent email to The Star. I met amazing people and became very good friends with my colleagues. I was in the salon and academy Tuesdays through Saturdays, teaching classes of about two to four students at a time and also taking clients in the salon. We focus on the students futures, and we don t ask questions about their pasts. I really hope that people can become more educated on human trafficking in general, Van Geystel continued. It s everywhere, not just in third-world countries. It s in our country, it s in our state, it s in our town, it s on our reservation. Human and sex trafficking is a worldwide epidemic, and I think that many people turn their heads to it because they cannot process it, or they are just uneducated about the situation in general. There is more slavery TODAY in our country and in the world than there ever has been in history. Let that sink in. The experience was monumental for Van Geystel, 25, and she spoke on her Instagram page about how hard it is to put into words. How am I supposed to describe something with just words when I experienced it so deeply in all senses of my body, she wrote. Being a part of the Kate Korpi team was the biggest blessing I ve been given thus far. My students, so thoughtful, caring, silly, curious, resilient, hungry for knowledge and full of life. & They taught

See FIRE page 2

See VISIT page 2

Van Geystel, center, worked at the Kate Korpi Salon and Academy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. — submitted photo

me more in the past four weeks than I could have ever taught them. My colleagues (who became friends) are the most well-rounded, big-hearted, optimistic, Divine human beings. I m so grateful and humbled by this life changing experience and I cannot wait to go back. Van Geystel said she hopes to go back in January to watch one of her classes graduate. The experience of being in a foreign culture offered many insights for Van Geystel that she brought back with her to America, and she described what it was like there, the culture shock, and how the culture there contrasts with the culture here. The Khmer people are truly beautiful inside and out, she said. The most friendly and curious

culture I ve ever seen. A smile goes a long way in Cambodia! The city was chaotic but I was surprisingly very calm while there. Some people spoke English, but mostly people spoke Khmer. She said she picked up some of the language, enough to greet people, talk to her students (there was a translator present), and to tell tuk tuk drivers where to go. My route to work on a tuk tuk (a Moto with a cart attached to the back) was always interesting! Van Geystel said. The traffic is crazy, crazy busy with no set rules other than the larger vehicle gets the right away. I thought I was going to be involved in many accidents, but my tuk tuk driver Tony is a fantastic driver and got me to work safe every day! See VAN GEYSTEL page 2

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