Chris Holt is 6’2” and broad-shouldered, demonstrating the athlete he’s been throughout his school years in Auburn. Isabel Yu is 5’2” or so, endowed with a ready smile, quick wit and ready laugh.
But these two 18-year-old Auburn Riverside High School seniors, while physically different, are endowed with important qualities that have made them the pride of the graduating class of 2022 and will no doubt take them far in life.
That is, high intelligence and a deep, often demonstrated, passion for leadership.
They are the sort of people endowed with some mysterious grace of life that makes their achievements look like “no sweat.” But don’t let the lack of sweat on the forehead fool you — they’ve worked hard.
Yu, a lifelong resident of Auburn, is ASB president, a member of DECA and carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average. This fall, she will attend Wellesley College in Boston, Mass. After that, law school, baby.
“I want to become a lawyer and get into politics,” Yu said.
Yu, who loaded her class schedule with AP honors classes, is keen to increase Asian American representation in state politics and “be an inspiration for young people.”
Yu said that the anti-Asian prejudice that flared up in recent years not only fanned the flames of her already-keen political instincts, but it also led her in 2021 to form the school’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Club (AAPI), a feat she regards as the highlight of her school years.
“It’s about spreading awareness of the problem,” Yu said of the club’s mission.
The AAPI Club, she noted, is open to everyone.
Holt, a native of Woodinville, attended school for a few years in Wenatchee before his family returned to the western side of the mountains and settled in Auburn. Personal issues limited his schooling to online for a few years, he said, so he was already used to remote learning when COVID hit in 2020.
“It’s hard, but you get used to it,” said Holt, adding that he greatly prefers being physically present at school. His favorite subject is business math because, he said, “it teaches you everything you’ll need in the future like how to pay your bills and do your taxes.”
Like Yu, he is a member of the school’s DECA club.
Holt, who has played football all of his life, was a linebacker and defensive lineman on the varsity football team, and a member of the school’s first varsity high school championship team in 2021. He also digs lacrosse.
Holt will attend George Fox University this fall, where he’ll play football and begin the studies that will launch him into a career in elementary or secondary education. He carries a 3.25 GPA.
In what spare time he can find, he likes to work with his father on rebuilding dad’s 1967 Dodge Dart.
“Be kind to everyone you meet. You don’t know what the other person is going through,” Holt said.
Holt and Yu share identical advice with those who will follow in their considerable footsteps:
“The high school years fly by,” said Yu. “Get involved with every activity you can.”
“Don’t be a spectator, get involved,” Holt said.