Kainoa Figueira – Track at Mt. Spokane High School

Being a member of the Class of 2020 has been one of my most enjoyable experiences! I’ve been
very involved in school activities serving as the President of the National Honor Society and the ASB Public Relations Officer. I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA while challenging myself with an AP course load as well as participating as a three-sport athlete for the last four years. I’ve also been an active member of our Senior Class Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Young Life. It is these activities where I’ve been able to apply my faith and gain insight into the value of servant leadership to help others.

My favorite sport in my high school career would have to be my time spent on the track. If I had to choose one word to describe the way that I run, it would be gritty. Webster’s Dictionary defines grit as “courage in the face of hardship or danger.” Running has taught me the value of the mental toughness needed to finish an 800 meter run and not give up the lead down the stretch of the 4x400. But more importantly, the mentality needed to complete semester projects and meet educational deadlines. Running has also instilled in me the value of teamwork. I LOVE being around my teammates and thoroughly enjoy our track practices and competitions. It is so awesome to cheer each other on as we compete in our league meets throughout the season. The camaraderie surrounding running is amazing and the satisfaction in pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits is something that I’ve come to appreciate. Having our season prematurely cut short because of the COVID pandemic has been disappointing because it is the togetherness of those experiences that I’m going to miss the most.

I think that those experiences will continue to serve me well with both my short and long term goals as I enter into my post-secondary education life. I plan on majoring in Engineering/Physics while continuing my running career in both Cross Country and Track at Whitworth University. Furthermore, I’m excited about the opportunity to take part in the Young Life program and mentor teens as I continue my path toward servant leadership.

Darren Nelson – Principle - Mt. Spokane High School
Academically, Kainoa has challenged himself to take a course of study that will prepare him for the university setting. Numerous Advanced Placement (AP) classes are present on Kainoa’s transcript, including Human Geography, English, Physics, United States Government & Politics, Literature and Calculus. Additionally, Kainoa has excelled in four-years of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering. This intentional course reflects a student who has his future in clear focus. When Kainoa eventually transitions to the university setting, I have confidence that he will continue to achieve in the classroom.
In addition to his academic life, Kainoa has excelled in student government and athletics. A team leader in football, basketball and track, combined with his role as an Associated Student Body (ASB) officer, speaks volumes about Kainoa’s commitment to others. Without question, the balance required to manage a full academic and extracurricular schedule is something most high school students struggle to maintain. With this being said, Kainoa has proven to manage his time and excel in all facets of his life – a skill that will prove most valuable as he eventually transitions to a college or university campus.

Kainoa Figueira – Mt Spokane High School


Jakob Trantum, Cross-Country at Rogers High School

Hello, my name is Jakob Trantum, I have run Varsity Cross-Country and Track at John R. Rogers High School the last 4 Years. Although I have been running since I was young, I never was too good at it, I never won races as a kid, or got acclaim for being the next big thing. I never was the fastest kid in my PE class. Growing up with type-one diabetes since the age of two made me believe I never could amount to something athletically as I saw it as a limitation of my potential. However, high school running has completely changed who I am as an athlete and how I view myself in the world. My freshman year I made varsity which brought me lots of excitement although I knew deep down it was because our team was having a historically bad season. After this struggle of a freshman year, we and a few teammates decided we wanted more, it was a long difficult process, but we kept working. This 2020 cross country season we found lots of success after loitering at the bottom for so long. The last 4 years of growth shaped me into someone who understands the importance of hard work. As captain the last 3 years, I learned how to help bring a team together for a common goal and build friendships that last a lifetime. The way running changed me has given me a platform to help inspire others and let them know their dreams are possible, both those who are lacking success and those with type-one diabetes or other medical issues who believe they aren’t capable of what others are. I have set very high goals for myself, breaking several time trials and fight for a spot at the state track meet. After this final season, I plan on attending and running for Eastern Washington University running both Cross-Country and Track. At Eastern I want to major in Education and go on to be an English Teacher and help coach Cross-Country and Track.

Kenneth Bell – Teacher/Coach – Rogers High School

It is my pleasure to be able to write this letter of recommendation for Jakob Trantum. I have known Jakob for 4 years, as his running coach and family friend. In my 40 years of teaching, I have coached and taught great student-athletes and Jakob has to be one of the best I have been associated with.

He is an ideal candidate for Scholarship assistance; he has been our team captain and team leader these past 3 years at John Rogers HS for our Track and Cross Country teams. Jakob is interested in continuing his academic pursuits in Teacher Education and I believe he will make a great English teacher and hopefully, Coach.

As a High School student at John Rogers HS, he distinguished himself in the classroom and on the athletic field. He maintained a 3.70 GPA while taking a number of AP courses (Biology, Calculus, Literature, Language Arts and Photography.) He participated in school fund raisers for local Charities & attended two summers at the White Pass/Clear Lake Running Camp. He led our Cross Country team to first place at the Nike Cross Regional’s in Boise, Idaho, beating 114 teams and 1223 runners.

I can think of no person better qualified or more deserving than Jakob Trantum and would commend him with my highest recommendation.

Jakob Trantum in First place – Rogers HS

Jakob Trantum in Second Place – Rogers HS


Dylan Stearns – Cross Country at Ferris High School

My name is Dylan Stearns and I attend Ferris High School. I began running in third grade at Wilson Elementary where I participated in Cross Country as well as the Fit for Bloomsday program until sixth grade. I continued to run Cross Country and track in middle school at Chase and in high school at Ferris.

I love going to school at Ferris and try to be involved as I can. Outside of cross country and track, at Ferris I have been a part of the leadership class, National Honor’s Society, Link crew and I manage the Boys’ Varsity Basketball team. I was also one of the Cross Country captains this year and a Track captain before our season was cancelled. I serve as a youth member on the Camp Fire Inland North West Board of Directors. On days when I don’t have school, practice, or meets, I work at Subway. In my free time, I love boating, cooking, baking and spending time with friends.

Running has come to define the person I understand myself to be. The lessons I have learned from this seemingly simple activity have translated into all aspects on my world and daily running creates a head space and balance in my life that has driven me to be the best athlete, student and person I can be. Running every day has given me the opportunity to practice internal discipline that I have applied to my life as a student. Running has given my mind space to breathe. The incredible relationships I have built through running have been beyond influential to who I am.

Next year I will be attending Carroll College in Helena, Montana where I will be majoring in nursing and running cross country and track! Some of my short-term goals are to complete my summer training plan for Carroll with faster paces and to maintain a 3.5 GPA in my first semester. My long-term goals include going back to school for my Doctorate in Nursing to become a Nurse Practitioner.

Erik Powell – Ferris High School

I am happy to write this letter in support of Dylan, an extraordinary student and runner. Having worked as Dylan’s Advanced Placement English teacher, I can comment on her skills and potential for success. Very early in the year, Dylan established herself as a serious, engaged learner who rose to the challenges and did her best work. Dylan welcomed new challenges and poured herself into them. Her confidence and participation grew in class from week to week.

Dylan did all of this while simultaneously serving on various leadership committees for the senior class, overcoming injury to participate on the varsity cross-country team and taking multiple AP classes during the day. Not every student can handle the demanding courses Dylan set for herself this year. She sparked others along and rallied her peers to do their best work because of her own quiet, earnest, yet vibrant enthusiasm.

By the time December arrived, Dylan had hit her stride and was consistently producing work of exceptional quality. The result of her efforts was an extremely well-written essay of analysis that would do well in the vast majority of introductory literature courses in college. When I found out that Dylan planned to attend Carroll College, I cheered because I think that campus environment will bring out the best of her skills. Not only will she thrive as a runner for their cross-country program, but she will also find their small inquiry-minded classes to stimulate her thinking and pushing her to do her very best.

Dylan Sterns –
Girls’ Cross-Country Ferris High School