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Trail Blazing Grads

Article by Jesse Franklin

Photography by Jesse Franklin

Originally published in Bellevue Lifestyle

Even as graduation parties and events begin to wind down and our pandemic protocols and practices start to fade, there are three Bellevue grads who still have a lot celebrate with their community of friends, classmates, educators and mentors. Bellevue School District alumni Derek, Brooke and Josue, are trailblazing new paths as the first in their families to go on to college. As active members of their school communities through athletics and activities, all three accomplished students have also partnered with Rainier Athlete mentors since fifth grade.

Rainier Athletes supports and motivates students to achieve their greatest potential with a longterm approach; beginning the journey with each family when their Rainier Athlete student is in elementary school and sticking by them through high school graduation. Adding to this long collaboration, Josue and Derek became mentors themselves to 7th and 8th grade students during their Senior year. Now, all three former Lake Hills classmates are breaking new generational ground as they march towards a bright future and big opportunities.


Sammamish High School 

Mentor: Peter

What’s Next?  Bellevue College and pursuing his passion for real estate as an intern for a  brokerage mostly supporting the Spanish speaking community. 

Best High School Memory: Scoring a goal in my first game as a freshman! Crowd cheering, teammates celebrating, it was all good. 

Challenge Overcome: First in family to graduate high school and apply for college. 

Future Goal: Working hard to one day being able to give my family the life they deserve after the sacrifices they've made for me. 

Motto: Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.

Secret talent or superpower: I'm pretty good on the drums

Advice to your younger self: Don’t be afraid of failure, you got this!


Sammamish High School 

Mentor: Kaylia 

What’s Next? Seattle University 

Best High School Memory: Junior year, the JSA (Junior State of America) convention in Portland. Being in a hotel room with friends and upperclass was exciting. It was funny to see my friends pretend to be politicians. Surprisingly, they were naturals.

Challenge Overcome: Math... I hate math. But I did it!

Future Goal: Get old people in shape as a professional physical therapist. 

Inspiration: Harry Styles. He says, "we'll be alright.”

Secret talent: I can make music with my toes

Advice to my younger self: care less about what others think about you and more about what you think about yourself. 


Sammamish High School 

Mentor: Jesse

What’s Next? University Of Washington 

Best High School Memory: Meeting new life long friends through sports. (Quarterback for SHS)

Challenge Overcome: Waking up every morning. 

Future Goal: Give back to my parents. They've given everything for me and my younger brothers. 

Inspiration or Motto: Improving myself everyday 

Super Power: I don’t talk a lot, but I am very good at reading the room and understanding the emotions of those in the space.

Advice to my younger self: Invest in yourself. Know your circle keep them close. 

Become a mentor or lend your support