Yanez and Ring named to All-Washington Academic Team

Laura Yanez and Rebecca Ring are Highline’s representatives to the 2015 All-Washington Academic Team, an honor that recognizes academic achievement, community service and involvement on campus. The two were celebrated at an awards ceremony on March 26 in Olympia with other top scholars from the state’s 34 community and technical colleges.

“We are proud to have Ms. Yanez and Ms. Ring as Highline’s All-Washington Scholars,” said Highline President Jack Bermingham. “Each of them overcame extraordinary challenges to gain access to college, making their academic achievements even more remarkable. Their outstanding success both inside and outside the classroom demonstrates character and leadership that merit national recognition.”

KeyBank awarded a $250 scholarship to each All-Washington team member.

Laura Yanez

Laura Yanez

At the ceremony, Yanez was further recognized with two additional awards. She was selected as a 2015 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar. She was one of 50 students nationwide to earn the honor, which came with a $1,500 scholarship. She also received a $1,000 scholarship from the Washington Trustee Association of Community and Technical Colleges, which is given to the second-, third- and fourth-ranked members of the All-Washington Team.

A resident of Federal Way, Yanez is Highline’s student body president, pursuing a degree in social work. Born in Colombia, she came to the U.S. in 2008 without speaking any English. She began taking ESL courses shortly thereafter, but struggled to progress through the ESL levels and lacked a plan for her future.

With encouragement from her instructors, Yanez applied for and was awarded Highline’s Jumpstart scholarship, which assists upper-level ESL students in transitioning to college-level courses by covering their tuition for the first 15 credits. Now, Yanez is a Highline Honors Scholar and has been recognized for her dedication and leadership in the ESL Club and Center for Leadership and Service. She also advocates for and mentors other immigrant and refugee students on campus.

Highline’s second representative to the All-Washington Academic Team, Rebecca Ring, is a political science major with plans to open her own direct trade business.

Rebecca Ring

Rebecca Ring

A resident of Des Moines, Ring is an Academic Achievement Scholarship winner and an active member of Phi Theta Kappa and participates in Highline’s Honors Program. Despite her impressive accomplishments, Ring did not always excel academically, overcoming many struggles including homelessness and not being able to attend school as a child.

Ring is passionate about environmentalism and social justice and volunteers with the Highline Sustainability Task Force, EarthCorps and Red Light Revolution, an organization that fights against human trafficking. She has plans to open her own fair and direct trade business to empower small business owners in developing nations.

The All-Washington Academic Team program is sponsored by the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges, Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and Phi Theta Kappa.