1,500+ Students Graduate with Degrees, Diplomas and More

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2019-07-15T16:47:26+00:00 June 28, 2019|News|
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1,500+ Students Graduate with Degrees, Diplomas and More

  • Graduate at Commencement 2019

Graduating students, together with friends, family and Highline College staff and faculty, packed the ShoWare Center in Kent on June 13. Together, they celebrated during the college’s 2019 Commencement ceremony.

More than 730 students participated in the ceremony — a record number — representing close to half of the 1,588 students who graduated as part of the class of 2019.

As is typical at other colleges and universities, students at Highline apply to graduate before all coursework has been completed. The college expects to award the following credentials for the 2018–19 academic year:

  • 1,867: total number of credentials (degrees, certificates and diplomas); some students earned more than one credential
  • 1,358: two-year degrees, including 627 associate of arts degrees and 402 associate of applied science degrees
  • 57: applied bachelor’s degrees
  • 193: high school diplomas
  • 141: GED diplomas

The 2019 graduating class reflects the diversity of the college campus. Here are a few facts:

  • 17: age of youngest graduate
  • 73: age of oldest graduate
  • 42: veterans who used VA education benefits while attending college
  • 227: number of immigrants
  • 46: number of refugees
  • 181: number of international students, representing 15 countries
  • 66%: students of color (of the 1,263 students reporting their race/ethnicity)
  • 64%: female graduates

Maxwell Brown

Capping his year as student body president, Maxwell Brown speaks to graduates at Highline’s 2019 Commencement. Brown, who turned 18 in May, earned his high school diploma and associate degree simultaneously as a Running Start student.

A remarkable 637 students graduated with honors with GPAs of 3.5 and above, and 24 of those had a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Among the graduates are those from five of the college’s six applied bachelor’s degree programs: Cybersecurity and Forensics, Global Trade and Logistics, Respiratory Care, Teaching and Early Learning and Youth Development.

In spring 2019, Highline added an applied bachelor’s degree in Integrated Design. Students will begin the program in fall 2019, with the first cohort expected to graduate in spring 2021.

Congratulations to the 57 students who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2019, including the first cohort from Teaching and Early Learning:

Francisco H. Argueta
Farhad M. Baradaran
Dara Isabella B. Bardelas
Justin R. Barnett
Cocoa M. Beamon
Ederly Beausilien
Kristi K. Byrd
Keshon J. Davis
Audra D. Ezell
Hasannien M. Ferhood
Ronald H. Fitzgerald
Elizabeth Foust
Jeremy S. Gagner
Alexander N. Gaitho
Marie Joy D. Gonsalves
Christopher J. Hamman
Jaylen M. Harris
Nejib H. Hassan
Kiarra Q. Hehn
Yvonne M. Hetherington
Punsala N. Hettiarachchige
Duncan I. Kajoka
Pipatpong Kasorn
Mary W. Kiando
Caleb A. Kirkish
Kamal H. Kishore
Celestial S. Kundert
Jonas Martin
Teea M. Martin
Evgeny Maximov
Sidannen C. McKenzie
Wendy J. Michalski
Stacey J Milligan
Binh Nguyen
Boo Y. Park
Kianna Payne
Nazar A. Pekhotin
Ariel L. Peters
Autumn A. Phair
Sean O. Probst
Zabihullah Qazizada
Tyiesha L. Rushing
Hannah E. Schenck
James K. Smith
Tamara A. Snow
Zimatha Somanje
David D. Stepchuk
Dezarie C. Taylor
Chelsea A. Thompson
Matthew J. Thorson
Julio C. Toscano-Cardona
Cinthia Velez-Regalado
Larry Vongkhamchanh
Peter U. Wembodinga
Kanesha L. Williams
Seth E. Williams
Donna L. Worrell


Gaebriel Min Wilson

Gaebriel Min Wilson speaks to the 2019 graduating class. (See more Commencement photos.)

One key component of Commencement each year is choosing a student speaker. While many apply, only one is selected. This year, Gaebriel Min Wilson earned the honor.

Graduating with an associate of applied science in visual communications, Wilson has spent the last two years enjoying her time inside and outside of the classroom.

She worked at Highline’s Center for Leadership and Service as a community leadership consultant, cultivating the club community on campus.

She also served as a Marketing Outreach Design consultant, creating visual marketing pieces for the campus community. After Highline, she will pursue a degree in graphic communications from the University for the Creative Arts in England.

During the ceremony, a number of students were recognized for their academic achievements with the following premier academic awards and honors:

Commencement is also a time to recognize the Student Legacy Award winners. These awards are open to all students, not just those graduating.

Vaishali Vakharia

Vaishali Vakharia

All-Washington Academic Team

Vaishali Vakharia earned statewide recognition and scholarships for her accomplishments as a Highline College student.

The Kent resident was honored as a member of the 2019 All-Washington Academic Team for her academic achievement.

Each of the state’s 34 community and technical colleges could nominate up to four students for the award.

To qualify, students must apply for recognition and be members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.


Highest Scholastic Achievement Award

The Highest Scholastic Achievement Award is presented each year to the graduating student — or students — who has attained the highest GPA and who has completed all degree requirements by the end of the spring quarter of the academic year of graduation. This year, 24 graduated with perfect 4.0 GPAs, qualifying them as Highest Scholastic Achievement scholars:

Mariyam L. Arifova
Faith E. Benda
Zihui Cao
Britany Castillo
Ian K. Clouthier
Faith V. Elder
Lauren J. Gallegos
Makena S. Halen
Alexis K. Jensen
Caitlin S. Kim
Fatima A. Reyes Lugo
Korina I. Mamaril
Kota Nagasawa
Khang H. Nguyen
Liana M. Papini
Nathalie N. Paradise
Boo Y. Park
Ngan H. Pham
Julliannea M. Plummer
Bridget A. Rezny
Haley P. Riggs
Kazusa Seko
Amanda L. Short
Seth E. Williams

Honors Program Graduates

During the 2018–19 academic year, 12 students challenged themselves to graduate as Honors Scholars as part of their participation in Highline’s Honors Program. These students completed at least 25 to 30 honors option credits, depending upon their degree, all while maintaining a minimum 3.5 GPA. In addition, they showed their dedication to the campus community by serving as club and student government leaders, participating in service learning, and much more:

Hani Alsamawi
Jalyssa Kamamo Atualevao
Alayna Daniels
Thanh Vo Duong
Reece D. Keller
Marilyn Marie Mathisen
Nga Nguyen
Tien H. Nguyen
Nathalie Paradise
My Pham
Hikaru Shiraishi
Paras Singh

Fuifui Ah Kuoi

Next Step Scholarship: University of Washington Tacoma

Fuifui Ah Kuoi was selected as the University of Washington Tacoma’s 2019 Next Step Scholarship recipient from Highline College.

The scholarship provides up to $6,000 in support each academic year for two years, for a total value of $12,000.

Born and raised in Samoa, she participated in the AANAPISI program as a student ambassador and plans to be an educator.

Shirley B. Gordon Award for Academic Excellence

Abdalah Adan won the Shirley B. Gordon Award for Academic Excellence, awarded annually by the Highline College Foundation. Adan earned a $4,000 scholarship for the 2019–2020 academic year. The award is based largely on academic achievement, but also considers the student’s community service activities and community college experience. Dr. Shirley B. Gordon was Highline’s president from 1976 to 1990.

Student Legacy Awards

A number of students received recognition for high achievement (Legacy Scholar Awards) and contributions to campus programs, services and activities (Legacy Leader Awards). While some of these students are graduating this year, others will return. They were honored during a special May 22 ceremony on campus as well as being listed in the Commencement program.

2019 Legacy Scholar Awards

Faith Elder, Journalism
Daniela Esan, Hospitality & Tourism Management
Louis Ihrig, Veteran Services
Reece Keller, MESA
Ryne Maloney-Risner, Respiratory Care
Hassan Mohamud, BSTEC
German Platonov, BSTEC
Abbas Raouf, Business
Mitchell Roland, Journalism
Emi Sueoka, Hospitality & Tourism Management
Malia Thompson, ACHIEVE
Jazmen Wright, ACHIEVE
Xiuxiang Wu, Mathematics

2019 Legacy Leader Awards

Fereita Afereti, CASE
Raghdah Alanae, Highline Arabic Club
Isabella Anderson, Thunderword
Cindy Arias, Community Leadership Consultant
Florence Bien-Aime, Student Employee of the Year
Kim Brainard, Unified Sports
Aby Colmenares, MESA
Andrew Canino, Cyber Competition Club
Caleb Chang, Highline Table Tennis Club
Jasmin Contreras-Guevara, Puente Club
Murphy Diep, Placement and Testing Center
Noah Dorsey, Model United Nations
Villinney Ea, Global Student Ambassadors
Daniela Esan, CASE
Samara Fathi, Highline Arabic Club
Justin Fokkema, Health and Life Sciences Club
Stephen Glover, ACHIEVE
Lizbeth Gomez-Morales, ACHIEVE
Reuben Gonzales, Thunderword
Catherine Hauschild, Respiratory Care
Karina Hernandez-Diaz, WISE
Shalia Horne, Registration
Ngo Bao Huy, VSA
Louis Ihrig, JSSOC Club
Briana Kemple, Women in Science and Engineering
Mary Kiando, Registration
Michael Kimball, Students Allied for Israel Club
Fuifui Ah Kuoi, LDSSA Club
Ricky Leung, Health and Life Sciences Club
Jiatai Liu, Math Resource Center
Lily Luu, Public Speaking Center
Helen Mattson, Community Leadership Consultant
Jan Mislang, TRiO
Jean Mulamba, Model United Nations
Alicia Nguyen, Vietnamese Student Association Club
Nga Nguyen, MOD Consultant
Nhung Nguyen, Community Resource Consultant
Thuan Thi My Nguyen, Math Resource Center
Nazar Pekhotin, Way Truth Life Club
Maria Peña-Aguilar, LatinX Student Association
Helen Pham, Highline Navigator Program
Ngan Pham, Tutoring Center
Dylan Pleasants, Placement and Testing Center
Julliannea Plummer, ACHIEVE Peer Navigator
Leo Ramirez, LatinX Student Association
Mia Raygoza, Public Speaking Center
Bernadette Sheran, ICC Peer Facilitator
Paras Singh, Business Club
Selia Sosa, ACHIEVE Peer Navigator
Adria Sutliff, Tutoring Center
Chalisa Thompson, CLS/MCA Student of the Year
Emanuel Villafuerte, TRiO
Thanh Vo, Highline Table Tennis Club
Lolita Washington, SVA Highline Chapter
James Watts, Global Student Ambassadors
Jonathan Williams, #HorrorLife Club
Gaebriel Wilson, MOD Consultant
Melissa Wilson, CRU Club
Jenna Yee, Computer Science Club
Micheal Zunick, Unified Sports