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Shining through at Auburn Riverside | Class of '14

Crystal Song and Jonathan Baunach made the most of their opportunities at Auburn Riverside. - Mark Klaas/Auburn Reporter
Crystal Song and Jonathan Baunach made the most of their opportunities at Auburn Riverside.
— image credit: Mark Klaas/Auburn Reporter

Four years at Auburn Riverside High School taught Crystal Song and Jonathan Baunach many things, the most important of which is to believe in yourself.

Quiet and unassuming as apprehensive freshmen, Song and Baunach blossomed as leaders of the class of 2014. Both are straight-A students, representing the top 1 percent of the 375 graduating seniors.

"I feel like I've grown up so much ... having to find my way into the crowd and finding my way out of it to better the community," said Song, who made an impact as senior class president, varsity golf captain and National Honor Society officer.

"It's allowed me to open up," Baunach said of his experiences. "My freshman year, I would be scared talking to one person. ... But as I got around more people, I learned to become more social and grow in ways I never expected."

Both found their niche at Auburn Riverside.

Song organized and guided many successful activities in her role with student government and clubs. She was a mentor in the Raven Crew program, which helps students transition into high school life. She launched Books for Africa, a student-led book collection and donation drive.

"It was a great learning experience that gave back to the community on a global scale," she said. "That was awesome."

In her community, Song volunteered in several capacities with the MultiCare health care system.

Song, daughter of Sunny Kim and Jay Song, plans to attend the University of Washington and double-major in neurobiology and communications, with her sights set on medical school. She enjoys working with children and might pursue a career in pediatrics or possibly oncology.

Song expected and got the most out of herself at Auburn Riverside.

"I firmly believe in just investing yourself in whatever you do. That way, it becomes personal and you get the most out of your experiences," she said.

Song is especially thankful for the support from Crystal Conant, her golf coach and teacher.

"She's been my rock," Song said.

Baunach, meanwhile, excelled through his work as co-editor of the yearbook and influential leader of the debate program. Both activities allowed him to mature and set an example for others to follow.

"It's been a lot of work trying to motivate a bunch of students to a yearbook," he said. "It helped me to become a leader."

Baunach credits his friend, Andrew Cooper, for helping him find his way in school. Together – as yearbook editors – they have grown through the struggles of putting together a comprehensive yearbook that's reflective of all students.

In debate, Baunach mentored students and even judged tournaments.

Baunach, son of Anne and Jay Baunach, will attend St. Olaf College, a private liberal arts school of the Lutheran church in Northfield, Minn., where he plans to major in mathematics. He eventually would like to attend grad school to study engineering.

"I fell in love with the community and the campus," he said of his visit.

Baunch's dream job is to work for Disney, designing rides for the theme park, or doing animation for Pixar.

He said he is prepared for the next step in his young life.

"I have grown." he said, "and now I'm ready to move on."

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