Ethan Smetheram, left, and Harjot Rai will graduate this weekend from Auburn High School, the first class since the pandemic hit in 2020 to enjoy a full school year’s worth of activities at their actual school. (Photo by Robert Whale/ Auburn Reporter)

Ethan Smetheram, left, and Harjot Rai will graduate this weekend from Auburn High School, the first class since the pandemic hit in 2020 to enjoy a full school year’s worth of activities at their actual school. (Photo by Robert Whale/ Auburn Reporter)

Bound for great things: Auburn High School’s Ethan Smetheram and Harjot Rai

Ethan Smetheram has played baseball for most of his life, including each of his high school years.

And after he graduates this weekend from Auburn High School with a 3.8 grade point average, you can bet he’ll be keen to play more ball, only he’ll be doing it next year for Spokane Falls Community College.

“I have been playing baseball since I was little kid. It’s the thrill of the game, you know,” said Smetheram, a center fielder and shortstop.

And when he’s not playing baseball at school, guess what he does? Fills his time with more baseball and “works out, just trying to get better at baseball.”

Oh, he also played four years of high school football — safety — and found one year for tennis.

He is part of the first AHS class since his freshman year to have a full school year at school uninterrupted by COVID-19.

“I am grateful that we have it because I have a lot of friends who were upperclassmen who had their senior years taken away, and that hurt them,” Smetheram said.

Senior year was a good year for the competitive lad.

“We won our division in football, our basketball team won state, our baseball team won district. It was all really cool,” said Smetheram.

In college, Smetheram — or Smet as his ball-playing buddies have called him since he was a little kid — expects to major in education, and later teach history. Seems to be encoded in the family DNA.

“Teaching has always been in my family’s blood. My grandpa was a teacher, my dad, Phil Smetheram, is a teacher here, and my mother works in the district. And I have always been into history, so I hope to teach that. My dad, Phil Smetheram, is a history teacher here.”

Ethan’s favorite classes off the diamond are DECA and leadership. He also digs being a school spirit master, one of those guys who rallies the hometown fans.

In his spare time, Smetheram said, he likes to “hang around with friends, drive to Seattle, hang out by the water.”

His top high school moments?

“In my freshman year I played baseball, and at our away games, we would take something small from the opposition field, you know, a piece of wood or something. So we used to take those and make a little shrine in the parking lot of all the things. We had a lot of fun,” Smetheram said.

And what sage advice does he have for the kids who’ll follow in his cleats?

“Just enjoy yourself, don’t stress about the little things. Work hard and have fun. You know, find that balance,” Smetheram said.

Harjot Rai also got into sports, with her sports being cross-country running and wrestling,

“I think I am better at academics than sports,” said Rai, who fit nine advanced placement classes into her high school years, including language arts, history and U.S. politics, and still maintained a 4.0 GPA. She took DECA and has been a member of the school’s Honor Society throughout her years at AHS.

“You get a lot of homework, and worse, you get a lot of packets to study for the AP test,” Rai said of her honors classes.

Next year she’ll attend the University of Washington, where she’ll study physics — her favorite, brain-bending subject.

“I’m thinking about a career in theoretical physics,” Rai said. “I just love learning about the universe.”

Apparently big brains run in the family. Her older brother, Gershon, is majoring in computer science.


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