Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the 25 Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. The students will be honored during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.
Student: Lauren Wittmers
School: Peninsula High School
Category: Athletic Achievement
Lauren Wittmers has been designated a scholar athlete three years in a row. She has also been on the All League volleyball team as a junior and senior, first team All State as a senior and was part of the undefeated League and District champions in 2022.
The volleyball team took second at the state tournament — all while maintaining a 3.8 GPA.
She is a member of the National Honor Society and an ASB senator, and has volunteered more than 60 hours of community service time during her high school career.
This fall, Lauren plans to attend Bellevue College to study nursing while she continues to play volleyball.
Making it to the state championship for volleyball in her senior year is her biggest accomplishment, she said. “Being part of the team with the best coaches and the best teammates — I’m so proud of that.”
Her favorite high school memories are also sports-related. “I loved been being part of the student section at sporting events — especially football — and cheering for my friends,” she said.
As it was for many other students, coping with COVID was a big challenge.
“COVID made everything a challenge,” she said. “Learning how to balance online-learning and keep my grades up, playing on two volleyball teams and doing running start — that was pretty hard.”
In addition to all her school activities, Lauren was the nanny to two young children for nearly a year, and still babysits for them on special occasions. Jaclyn Harkson, the childrens’ mother, was “completely blown away by Lauren’s positivity, leadership and go-getter attitude. She’s the type of person who sees what needs to be done and does it. It’s rare to find someone that thinks to do things before you’ve even thought of them yourself.“
PHS math teacher Peter Pratz agreed. “Lauren has exceptional work habits that have helped her to the high level of success she has achieved in the classroom, on the volleyball court and in her other endeavors at PHS,” he wrote in a letter of recommendation.
“She has maintained a stellar GPA while being involved in multiple activities, from school leadership to her involvement in youth group, to her leadership and play on the volleyball team. I expect her to have success in anything she chooses to pursue and work at in the future.”
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For Lauren, the best thing about PHS is “the community atmosphere. PHS is such a welcoming and safe place for students to be and it creates a culture where students want to come to school and enjoy learning.”
Parents: Keith & Debbie Wittmers
Activities/Achievements: National Honor Society; Honor Roll; ASB Senator; 60 hours community service; Scholar Athlete, grades 10, 11 & 12; First Team All League – Volleyball, Grade 11 & 12; First Team All Area, First Team All State, Undefeated League and District champs and 2nd place State finish, Grade 12.
Favorite Teacher: Mrs. Osera. “She was my favorite teacher because she taught English and that was always my least favorite class and she made it enjoyable. Mrs. Osera would take the time to make sure we knew what we were doing and would walk us through it making sure we would do well on our assignments. She made English classes a fun environment.”
Best thing about PHS: the community atmosphere. “PHS is such a welcoming and safe place for students to be and it creates a culture where students want to come to school and enjoy learning.”
Advice to younger students: Stay on top of your homework! Join a club or sport. Never be afraid to ask questions.
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