McKenna Webb and Mathew Abenojar enjoyed the experience at Auburn Riverside High School, leaving a mark of excellence in and out of the classroom. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

McKenna Webb and Mathew Abenojar enjoyed the experience at Auburn Riverside High School, leaving a mark of excellence in and out of the classroom. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Technically sound in every way

Webb, Abenojar got the most out of themselves at Auburn Riverside

From the get-go, they had a knack for figuring out gizmos, gadgets and complicated things.

Understanding computers – their languages and many uses – comes naturally to McKenna Webb and Mathew Abenojar, two of the very best from Auburn Riverside High School’s class of ’19.

“I’ve always been the family IT (information technology) guy,” said Webb, releasing a smile. “Anything technical in the house? I was the first one called.”

Abenojar replied: “Working IT has always been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid … when my dad would let me tinker on my first computer and Windows 98. … I wanted to follow in his footsteps (as an engineer).”

Bright and ambitious, Webb and Abenojar wish to explore more of the IT world at college. The two seniors aspire one day to protect their country from cyber attacks.

“For the CIA, maybe,” Webb said.

“For the Department of Defense,” said Abenojar.

Webb’s next step takes her to Lehigh University, a private school in the hamlet of Bethlehem, Pa. Abenojar, a Running Start student, will finish work on his associate degree in IT at Green River College this summer and pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the cyber security program at University of Washington Tacoma.

Both students will leave Auburn Riverside with major awards, honors and scholarship support.

Webb welcomes the change of pace and new challenges to bring out the best in a 4.0 honor student who understands hard work and long hours.

“I feel so lucky just to get admitted to a great school,” she said. “Lehigh offers a rigorous education and sets you up for the working world. It sets students up for success.”

While she plans to major in computer science, Webb will minor in theater, something dear to her heart. She’s passionate about the stage, her sanctuary away from flat screens, codes and keyboards.

Webb has excelled as an actress, director and producer. She has performed in more than 20 musicals and plays throughout the Seattle area and participated in the prestigious Summer Musical Theater Institute at Wagner College in New York City. That experience in New York fueled her drive to return to the Northeast for college. Lehigh sits between the Big Apple and Philadelphia, about a 90-minute drive to either city.

She also has been a catalyst in community theater, having produced and directed Broadway for #BrAvery for the past three years, a spring benefit show for the Avery Huffman Defeat DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) Foundation to fund medical research needed to fight this deadly form of pediatric brain cancer. Webb, her family and supporters established the foundation in memory of Avery, a 7-year-old Auburn girl and friend, who lost her fight with the disease three years ago.

Broadway for #BrAvery has raised nearly $30,000 in three shows for the foundation.

Webb thought long and hard about exclusively pursuing the theater arts, but an IT job promises a firm foundation to pay for voice and dance lessons. Theater will always be there for her.

“It will fund my dream,” Webb said. “I don’t want to be a starving artist.”

Webb, daughter of Amee and Dean Webb, was a part of the school choir, SkillsUSA, a career and technical student organization, the National Honors Society, and, of course, the drama department. She received an honors ranking from the International Thespian Society.

She looks back fondly at her years at Auburn Riverside, a school that has prepared her well for college. She credits many people for her success, notably Katy Nuttman, theater and language arts teacher.

“The school, especially the people here, is unparalleled,” she said. “They have shaped me into the person that I am.”

Looking for a high school to attend, Abenojar found a home at AR, with its computer maintenance program. He blossomed under the tutelage of Frank Medina, who teaches computer systems engineering in his technology classes.

Abenojar, son of George and Maricel Abenojar, shone in SkillsUSA as a state IT champion who has qualified to compete at nationals in Louisville, Ky., next week. He has gained valuable experience as an IT intern for the Auburn School District since 2017.

Along with Medina, Japanese language instructor Akiko Newcomb has been influential in Abenojar’s growth.

”The Auburn Riverside experience has been fantastic,” Abenojar said. “I knew it would be a great place to be.”

===

Commencement ceremonies

Auburn Memorial Stadium, 801 Fourth St. NE

Saturday, June 15

• 11 a.m. – Auburn Mountainview High School

• 4 p.m. – Auburn Riverside High School

Performing Arts Center, 702 Fourth St. NE

• 1:30 p.m. – West Auburn High School

Sunday, June 16

Auburn Memorial Stadium

• 4 p.m. – Auburn High School


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Firefighters treat 3 in head-on collision | Fire blotter

Reporter staff Between June 29 and July 5, the Valley Regional Fire… Continue reading

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Courtesy of the Auburn School District
There will be school this fall in Auburn

The district is working on answering the question: What will it look like?

Pills stolen, windows smashed | Auburn police blotter

Between June 27 and July 3, the Auburn Police Department responded to… Continue reading

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Stock photo
Free document shredding, mask distribution this weekend in Federal Way and Auburn

Free events, hosted by King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, run July 11 in Federal Way and July 12 in Auburn

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

Most Read