Gifted in and out of the classroom, Clarissa Santiano and Kyle Bates set and reached their high standards at Auburn Riverside High School. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Gifted in and out of the classroom, Clarissa Santiano and Kyle Bates set and reached their high standards at Auburn Riverside High School. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Being all they can be at Auburn Riverside

Bates, Santiano leave behind a legacy of excellence at the school

They are classmates, friends, honors students and leaders who flourish with their own style.

Both got the most out of Auburn Riverside High School, and, in the process, got the most out of themselves.

Meet Kyle Bates and Clarissa Santiano. Two of the very best from the graduating class of ’18.

“Thankful to be a part of it,” Brady said of the four-year experience. “The school presents a lot of opportunities for people to explore their interests and figure out what they are going to enjoy after high school. … There’s a lot of support from all places.”

For Bates, the next step is the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he plans to study aviation and political science, establishing a foundation for what may be a long career in the service. Appointed by U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, Bates welcomes the regimented Navy way of life – its education, its leadership and its physical training.

In the fall, Santiano will respond to the call of the University of Washington’s honors program. Her educational journey begins in pre-science, where she plans to major in biology, then it’s off to medical school. She ultimately would like to become an allergist.

“I really like to challenge myself,” said Santiano, a 4.0 student. “I like to learn, to improve myself and to grow.”

Bates and Santiano graduate Saturday in the top 10 of their senior class. Each did so much in so little time.

A well-rounded, 3.9 student, Bates was active in student government and was a member of the TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) Club, a two-time state champion. He played cello – an instrument he first picked up in the fifth grade – for the chamber orchestra. As captain, he ran cross country and played baseball all four years.

In the classroom, Bates found excellence, especially in history, politics and government studies.

“My educators, especially in the social studies department, helped me realize where I have a passion in academics, which is why I’m mostly pursuing political science in college,” Bates said.

Bates, son of Jerry and Vicki Bates, is a genuine leader who enjoys serving others and stands committed to accomplishing great things as part of a team. The Navy will enrich those qualities, he said, continuing what Auburn Riverside developed over four years.

“Here,” he said, “teachers, administrators and (coaches) are really dedicated to your success.”

Like Bates, Santiano shone in academics, music and service.

She was involved in student government all four years, planned events for the National Honor Society, sang in the choir and performed in musicals and plays for the drama department and community.

Santiano, daughter of Roland and Carolina Santiano, struggled with allergies as a child.

“I’m good now, thankfully,” she said. “Getting through that wouldn’t be possible without my allergist.”

Now it’s Santiano’s turn to help others.

“If I could help mitigate the pain for young people especially – but all people in general – that would be awesome,” she said.

Santiano’s compassion is an extension of the caring environment at Auburn Riverside. She also has found that at UW, which suits her just fine.

“High school is one of the best things that ever happened (to me),” she said. “It’s nice to know that at our school there is a support system, and you get to make those bonds to people with similar interests. You get to connect with people at a deeper level. …

“It’s real valuable at Riverside that you can find people like you, and even if people are not like you, we make a lot of effort to appreciate diversity at our school.”

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