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Auburn School District to honor Ilalko Elementary reacher, Auburn senior

Amy Grijalva has made an impact on her students at Ilalko Elementary School. - Courtesy photo
Amy Grijalva has made an impact on her students at Ilalko Elementary School.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

The Auburn School District Board of Directors recognizes Amy Grijalva, a fifth-grade teacher at Ilalko Elementary, for her outstanding service at 7 p.m. Monday in the James P. Fugate Administration building, 915 Fourth St. NE.

Grijalva has spent her 15-year teaching career at Ilalko. She previously worked as a substitute teaching in the Bellingham and Ferndale school districts after graduating from Western Washington University.

"I like the maturity level of fifth-graders," Grijalva said, "I enjoy watching them get ready for middle school."

Colleagues praise Grijalva's work.

"I am amazed on a daily basis by what she accomplishes with her students," said Peter Sprenger, a fifth-grade teacher. "She inspires me to work at developing new assessments and trying new strategies.

"Amy's organization and friendly personality are the glue that holds our team together."

Grijalva loves teaching.

"The 'aha' moments when the light bulb goes off, I just love that part of teaching," she said.

Her favorite subject to teach is math.

"Amy understands the success of her teaching is measured by the learning of her students," said Ilalko Principal Tim Carstens. "She instills pride in work, respect for others, and, above all, confidence in her students as they move from elementary to middle school."

Grijalva grew up in the Maple Valley area and lives in Bonney Lake. Away from work, she enjoys gardening, being with friends and family, and shopping. She has been married to her husband Paul for 15 years and is a busy mom of two girls, ages 6 and 8.

Mult-talented Auburn High's Youn earns honor

The school district also recognizes Peter Youn, a senior at Auburn High School, for being an outstanding student at its Monday gathering.

Youn made the decision to attend Harvard University before the start of his freshman year. He approached his counselor, Leslie Kiilsgaard, and said, "I want to go to Harvard. What do I need to do?"

Kiilsgaard told him to do his best, stay on track and go to school every day.

Youn followed Kiilsgaard's advice to the letter. He is not only graduating at the top of his class with a 4.0 GPA, but he also has a perfect attendance record.

He will attend Harvard in the fall.

Youn's list of accomplishments is a reflection of his drive, determination and dedication. He scored a perfect 800 on the math SAT and scored a 5 on the AP Calculus BC Exam.

He also is a skilled violinist, having performed with the Tacoma Youth Symphony throughout high school as one of its leading players. He was selected to play with the Auburn Symphony Orchestra.

Youn participated in a benefit concert last year that raised $4,000 for North Korean orphans and the homeless in Seattle.

Youn is a four-year letterman of the school's award-winning FIRST Robotics Team. He played on the varsity tennis team, served as Key Club president and helped create and serve on the Math Club. He is a member of the National Honor Society.

Youn also volunteers as a tutor for the King County Library System and, for the past four years, has volunteered at his church. He began providing free violin lessons for a student in need last September.

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