2023 Students of Distinction

Ava Emory excels on both sides of the camera

Posted on May 12th, 2023 By:

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the 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 17, 2023, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Student: Ava Emory

School: Global Virtual Academy

Category: Academic Achievement 

Ava Emory had been taking acting classes and performing for a long time when a teacher suggested that she also try her hand at making films and writing screenplays.

That sparked an interest that Ava plans to turn into a career. It also has resulted in the things of which she is most proud: Several of her films have been accepted into student film festivals, including independent film festivals in New York and Toronto. And a film she co-wrote was recently accepted into a festival in Seattle. Several of films she has worked on have won awards.

Ava Emory

Excelling online

Mostly, she said, she has just been making films with her close friends, outside of school. But she loves that she is also creating opportunities for other student film actors and directors to hone their craft. She has even immersed herself in film through her part time job at the Galaxy Theaters, and received the Employee of the Month award earlier this year.

The isolation of COVID presented the biggest challenge during her high school years. “I went through a lot of anxiety and depression, not being able to be with my friends. We’re social creatures and if we can’t be together, it makes us sad.”

Attending the Global Virtual Academy (GVA) has been key to her academic success. “I really liked middle school but I just wasn’t comfortable in high school,” she said. So, for the past two years, all of her schooling has been online.

Before she switched to GVA, Eva attended Peninsula High School, where she was on the  swimming team. She grew up around swimming and loved being in the water, but had to stop because of health issues. So the swim coach invited her to manage the team, which she did for three years until she transferred to GVA.

She is also a long distance runner, which, she said, helps her stay focused. “When I’m running I always feel healthier and happier.”

A role model

Ava’s GVA instructors speak highly of her. John Rosi calls her “a role model to others through her success in school and her kindness toward others. She stands for what is right in society and uses common sense to evaluate the future of her community and beyond.”

GVA teacher Andrea Kurtz agreed. “Not only is Ava exceptionally talented, she’s a role model to her peers. Her sincerity, maturity, caring spirit and ‘spark’ are what set her apart, even in our remote setting, Ava contributed to class discussions, made relevant connections and was an active listener. She is a leader in every aspect of her life, from academics to activities. With her natural creative abilities and determination, she will be successful in her career pathway.”

Ava’s advice to younger students just starting high school is to “stay true to yourself. In high school there are all kinds of life changes. Don’t fall into being somebody else’s idea of who you should be.”

This fall Ava will attend Olympic College in Bremerton to study film, screenwriting and marketing, then transfer to a four-year university. She has also been accepted to the Savannah School of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia and Cornish College of the Arts’ film program in Seattle.

Ava Emory

GPA: 3.9

Parents: Doug and Glenda Emory

Achievements/Activities: Produced, wrote, directed and acted in student films, contributed to several award-winning student films; two AP/Honors courses; PHS swim team manager 2019, ‘20 and ‘21; January 202 3Employee of the Month – Galaxy Theatres in Gig Harbor

Favorite teacher: “I adore teachers who are independent thinkers and enthusiastic with common sense and have the skillset to provide information in an unbiased, respectful, logical manner. I have had the honor of experiencing several of those great minds including Mr. Rosi, Mrs. Kurtz and Mrs. Hutchinson. In addition, these teachers possess the ability to value, support and care about their students and demonstrate that they truly love what they do.”

Best thing about GVA: “My school has allowed me the opportunity to practice discipline, responsibility, initiative and organization as well as provide the time needed to further develop creativity and innovation along with independent/critical thinking skills.