2024 Students of Distinction

Grace Holtzclaw bridges passion, science and environmentalism

Posted on May 9th, 2024 By: Joshua Eskew

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles featuring the Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. These students will be celebrated during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Grace Holtzclaw 

School: Peninsula High School 

Category: Academic Achievement 

As much an athlete as a scholar, Peninsula High School’s Grace Holtzclaw is always pushing herself to go just a little further. Whether throwing the javelin or studying physics, she never lets herself take shortcuts. Her intrinsic love of learning and friendly competition motivates her to push herself as far as she can go.

Grace Holtzclaw

Bridging artistic expression and scientific inquiry 

Although she hopes to major in engineering or astronomy, she thinks her artistic side balances her scientific curiosity. She enjoys making ceramics, and thinks her artistic endeavors are an important part of her work-life balance. She is also fascinated with the study of space and hopes to learn more about the mysteries astronomers are solving as she completes her degree.

Championing environmental consciousness 

Grace is also focused on being environmentally conscious and considers her commitment to a vegetarian diet to be one way in which she enacts her passion for environmentalism.

She worries about problems like climate change and would like to see less apathy in the world, especially when her generation has been tasked with solving so many important problems. She thinks a lot about the difference between awareness and action and, mindful of this distinction, tries to put her principles into action whenever she can. She hopes to live in a way that will inspire others to think about these things as well.   

Charting a course for impactful change 

After finishing college, Grace hopes to find a job where she can contribute to solving some of the world’s great problems. She’d also like to own a cat, travel, and perhaps try skydiving. 

Student: Grace Holtzclaw 

Category: Academic Achievement 

GPA: 4.0; class ranking 1/351 

Parents: Suezane Holtzclaw 

Achievements/Activities: 11 AP, Honors and/or College courses; Varsity Letter in Community Service, Varsity Letter in Track & Field, National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation, AP Scholar with Distinction, Scholar Athlete Award, Student of the Quarter, Vice President of Gender-Sexuality Alliance, State Track and Field competitor, Knowledge Bowl Team Captain, Vice President of National Honor Society, Volunteer/Cashier at SAVE Thrift Store 

Favorite teacher: Grace thanks Mr. Gillis for pushing her outside of her comfort zone by making her and her classmates switch seats every day in their first week of school. “In hindsight, though slightly awkward at first, I loved it. I got to know everyone and genuinely formed friendships that lasted beyond Calculus. It also made us work better together throughout the year because we were all comfortable around each other.”   

Best thing about high school: “Peninsula is a great place to find your niche and meet like-minded individuals in the process. It allows for diverse interests to be found and explored. I am absolutely a more enriched person outside of academics with social connections and skills on top of the hobbies I made them in.”