The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Raja Estes: NHS valedictorian


Courtesy photo

Raja Estes

Raja Estes is valedictorian for the 2017 Naselle/Grays River School District's Class of 2017. She will graduate with a 3.96, a GPA which she maintained while attending Running Start classes at Clatsop Community College for the last two years.

"I have enjoyed it from the beginning because it was challenging," Estes said in an email. "It allowed me to take a variety of classes that Naselle didn't provide, as well as prepare me for what my next years at university will be like. Being someone who didn't want to settle for run of the mill classes, the program had been my golden ticket to an education I always wanted."

There was a down side, of course. She missed her friends, as well as her final year of volleyball and track.

"I made my education my priority and I knew I would have to give up something to get where I wanted to go academically," Estes said. "My parents encouraged me to do well in school since day one. I have a tendency for wanting to succeed, and knowing school was a means to a bright future, I always pushed myself to get A's and keep a high GPA. It also just happens to be a bonus that I like to learn."

While at NHS, Estes not only participated in sports, she was class president for three years and ASB Secretary her sophomore and junior years. She was even elected to the position of State Auditor while participating in Girl's State.

Her favorite teacher is Mr. Wise, and while she enjoys biology, math is her favorite class.

"STEM's (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine) in general have always made me excited about learning," Estes said.

She plans to study microbiology, and specialize in genetics at the University of Washington next fall. She's also interested in neurology and will get a minor in business marketing, just to be on the safe side.

"I am currently looking at a medical school for my chosen major," Estes said, "so I will more than likely go to med school and choose a specialty and become whatever my 6+ year self wants to be."

Estes is the daughter or Ronald and Rahma Estes. She was born in Morocco and raised in Naselle.

"I am grateful to have grown up with a set of kids like my class," she said. "It creates a sense of comfort when coming back to school or hanging out with them because we all know each other so well. It will be quite odd for us all moving to university next year because we won't have that tight knit community we are all used to."


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