2023 Students of Distinction

Kate Harper thrives on stage, both musical and theater

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: Kate Harper

School: Gig Harbor High School

Category: Music, Art & Drama Achievement

Kate Harper lives and breathes creative expression. She has studied piano since she was four years old, started playing oboe in fifth grade and played flute in the GHHS pep band and marching band.

But her favorite high school activity is theater.

“I admit I like being the center of attention,” she said with a laugh. “And I love being able to creatively express something that you can’t do in real life – and in the process you can make people feel something.”

Kate Harper

On stage

She has taken part in numerous school plays including “Pride and Prejudice,” “Little Women,” “Mamma Mia,” “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and others – all while taking AP classes and serving as a class senator. Harper also worked as a page in the state House of Representatives.

She doesn’t want to define herself with one single activity, but she’s proud of being in leadership positions and of her work in theater. “Our drama program has struggled so I’m glad that I’ve been able to stick with it and be in all those shows,” she said.

Tate Lenkaitis, ASB Leadership Advisor, calls Kate an “exceptional school leader. I’m particularly impressed by her dedication to her passions. She’s an exceptional artist and painter and ran an entire group for TideFest. She puts in countless hours at school and I could not ask for a better student and leader.”

Helping people

Kate looks forward attending BYU-Idaho this fall and hopes to continue to do music and be involved in theater. Her goal is to study communication disorders and deaf education for a career as a Speech Language Pathologist. But, since BYU doesn’t have a major for that, she plans to attend for a year and then transfer to “whatever is the best university for speech pathology,” she said. “I really want to help people, but I don’t want to be a doctor or go to med school. I like the career opportunities as a speech pathologist. I love to talk and I just think it’s so important – having a voice and being able to speak.”

Her advice to younger students for how to be successful in high school: “It’s not just about school. Find something that you like and that you like being part of. But don’t let any one thing define you. Find your niche, but don’t put yourself in a box.”

Kate Harper

Parents: Elaine and David Harper

Achievements/Activities: 14 years piano training with many public performances including solo house concerts and accompanying choirs, soloists and chamber groups; hired as pianist for Missoula Children’s Theater production of “The Snow Queen” at Artondale Elementary; first chair oboe – plays in concert band, symphonic band and wind symphony; plays flute in pep band and marching band; Band Council secretary; Drama Club junior officer; dance captain; 6 AP classes; 3 UW-in-the-high-school classes; AP Scholar with Honor award; class senator; ASB vice-president; youth camp leader; WA State House of Representatives page

Favorite teacher: Ms. Lenkaitis. “She truly cares about her students. Her positive and bubbly personality makes the school a better place. She is generous, always putting others before herself. Anytime you ask her for help, she is not only willing but eager. She makes class fun, engaging and a highlight of everyone’s day.”

Best thing about GHHS: “The teachers. We have so many great teachers who care about their students and are passionate about what they teach. They provide a good education and create a positive environment for their students and everyone in the school. Teachers can truly make a difference and having good teachers in every subject makes Gig Harbor a place people want to be.”