2022 Students of Distinction

Will Newberg founded a honey company

Posted on May 16th, 2022 By:

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: William Newberg

School: Gig Harbor High School

Category: Science & Technology Achievement

Will Newberg is a young man of many talents. He plays trombone in all the GHHS bands, runs on the school’s championship cross country team, has won numerous awards in speech and debate, invented a system of pacing lights to track runners’ times and, with a retired veteran in Lakewood he founded a honey company.

Will Newberg

He’s in business

Will designed all the packaging for the honey and handles distribution and marketing to small local markets and gift shops including Rosedale Market and the Fox Island grocery.

The idea for the company took root in Will’s junior year when he took an environmental sustainability class in his Running Start program and learned about human impacts on the environment and possible solutions to those problems. Greenhouse gasses are one of the big ones, causing climate catastrophe, he said.

“Centralized farming and food production cause emissions through the transportation of goods. My local business combats industrial agriculture by producing honey locally, minimizing the distance it’s transported.”

That Running Start class also led to Will’s decision to study sustainable engineering at the University of Arizona starting this fall, and his desire to one day create a solar power company.

His invention of the pacing light system for the track team came when he learned about wavelight pacing, a breakthrough in track and field technology.

“When I have a problem I usually like to solve it with science and technology,” he said. “I thought about how that could help my cross country team improve.”

When he learned the exorbitant price of commercial pacing lights, he hit on the idea of developing an auditory pacing device.

“The idea is lining up cones on the inner line of the track, five-meters apart, and programming a circuit with programmed beeps with a delay. The result is perfect pace within 100th of a second from the beginning to end of a rep,” he said. “And it gives the team greater accuracy in workouts and faster improvements.”

The team took second place in the state cross country championships this year, even with a much younger group of runners.

Pandemic challenges

As it did for many students, the pandemic presented challenges for him. In his sophomore year he had a long list of activities. His day started at 6 a.m. with jazz band, followed by several honors and AP classes.

After school time was filled with cross country practice, driving school and homework. Weekends he was usually competing in a cross country meet or a speech and debate tournament.

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Then COVID hit and all classes – even band — were suddenly online. Running became a solitary, isolated activity. Still, he’s been able to maintain a 3.85 GPA in Running Start while taking eight AP/Honors courses and, now that in-person classes and activities have returned, he’s again playing music and running track with his friends.

Speech and Debate teacher Chris Coovert calls Will “…a bright and hardworking young man who is poised for success at the next level.”

Patty Ley, head of the GHHS Cross Country / Track and Field team added that Will “…is an invaluable leader, mentor and contributor in our program. He is an outstanding student with an inquisitive and agile mind and a classy young man of excellent character and integrity. We talk to our kids about what legacy they will leave when they graduate. His is outstanding.”

Will Newberg

School: Gig Harbor High School

Category: Science & Technology

GPA: 3.85

Parents: Christine and Scott Newberg

Activities: Running Start; eight AP/Honors classes; plays trombone in the wind symphony, jazz band, marching band, pep band and newly formed brass band, winning numerous festivals including the prestigious Viking Jazz Festival; varsity track and field with 2nd place in state cross-country; speech and debate team awards

Favorite teacher: Chris Coovert, speech and debate teacher. “He taught us skills to excel in philosophical debates and impromptu speech events. Those critical thinking, public speaking, ethical judgement, communication and argumentative skills will help me excel in all my classes and future. While speech and debate is considered an after school club, I also enjoyed the time I spent with Mr. Coovert in World Cultures Honors.”

Best thing about GHHS: The dual-enrollment program. I was able to take two years college credit while participating in high school sports and clubs I’m passionate about. The program fits well with my goals and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.”

Advice to younger students: Read books. Read a lot of books. Not only the ones assigned in school, but the ones you enjoy. Get good at it. Then, when you decide what you want to do, learning about subjects and executing plans on ideas will come easily. Most successful people attribute reading to their success.