10 Fantastic Students at Ashland High School


Ben Smith flying a plane.

Elena Patterson and Sinead Pyle


Ben Smith, Senior, Pilot

Smith has his Student Pilot Certificate, which is sort of like a student drivers certificate, and flies planes. His plane of choice is a small single engine plane, a Cessna 172. He intends to go to flight school after graduating to become a pilot for passenger planes.

“… I like flying because (the ground) is so far below you, it’s the feeling of control…”

Foster Thomas, Senior, Scooter Master

Thomas is a natural athlete; he played soccer on the JV team and is currently on the snowboarding and bowling team. Thomas is also a pro scooter rider. He had started scootering at a very young age. One of Thomas’ coolest tricks is being able to do a backflip off of a ramp on his Razer scooter. When asked if it was hard, he stated that it really wasn’t, and that it only took “seven or eight” tries before he got it down.

Jacob Conley, Senior, Inventor

For Jacob Conley’s Senior project, he invented a machine that can help his grandpa when he’s sleeping with an oxygen tank. Before, when his grandpa would roll over in the night, the tube would slide down and touch the ground, making it harder for the air to move up the tube. So Conley set to work creating a machine to solve the predicament. He got all his parts either from his uncle, an aircraft mechanic, or from the hardware store and he invented a machine that uses a combination of springs and clips to lift the tube up and down depending upon the position at which his grandpa was laying.

Javier Vargas, Freshman, Cellist

Javier Vargas is a cellist. Vargas has been playing the instrument for five years— and he’s good at it. This year Vargas joined Ashland High School’s Chamber Orchestra. He is also a cellist for the Southern Oregon Youth Symphony.  Vargas’ favorite songs to play on the cello are the Box Cello Suites, and the Haydn Concerto.

“I really like the low sound of the cello when I play them.”


Henry Cobb, Freshman, Real Life Genius

Ever since Henry Cobb started Kindergarten, he has always had a knack for math. “It’s still my favorite subject,” and as a Freshman at Ashland High School, he is taking Algebra 2 Honors. Next year as a Sophomore, he will will be taking Pre Calc, then AP Calc, and then for his Senior year will be taking math classes at SOU. When Cobb graduates, he is planning on going into a math related field “ I was thinking about computer science as an option”.


Kelsey Gida, Senior, Class President

Kelsey Gida is this year’s senior class president. Gida was also the junior class president last year. She is in charge of class of 2015 reunions, on top of performing jobs for the senior class to make sure their last year goes smoothly.  She also gives speeches to classes and at assemblies.

She says “I love being involved… [and] being an outlet for the student body.”

Kelsey recommends that if you want to be more involved with AHS, you should join leadership, or take roles in the student body such as class officers.

Jeremiah Sherrynewby, Sophomore, Extreme Wrestler  

Sherrynewby is a wrestler at Ashland High School. He has medaled in many events, but he modestly says that he’s a mediocre wrestler. Sherrynewby likes to wrestle because he says “it will keep me healthy and in shape”. In the future, Sherrynewby plans to study fire science and become a firefighter, so physical health and strength are vital. To become a firefighter you must have cardiovascular fitness, upper body strength, and lift as much as 200 pounds in some states, which directly correlates to wrestling.

“I really like wrestling, and it’s super fun “ he says.

McKenzie Moore, Freshman, Cross country star

McKenzie Moore has run as long as she remembered. Throughout her childhood she competed in jog-a-thons and races, becoming a stronger and and more powerful competitor. She was a medalist in this years districts, and flat out loves running. Although she doesn’t think she will pursue running as a career, she says that she will continue running recreationally after high school.

“The best thing I like about running is that you’re always improving” McKenzie says with a smile.

    Castilla Andrus and Rhiannon Knutson, Seniors, Ace Yoginis

Andrus and Knutson took on the challenge of participating in Shine a Light. Shine a Light took place on Winter Solstice in the SOU basketball court. The goal was to do 108 sun salutations raising approximately $108 per person to “give refuge, rehabilitation, [and] education” to men and women who have suffered at the hand of sex trafficking or the commercial sex industry. “[Yoga] is super versatile and fun!” tells Castilla, she also describes it as extremely beneficial to one’s health and that it’s definitely something to participate in.

Mardochee Graham, Freshman, lived in Haiti

Mardochee Graham is a freshman who spent more than half of her life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She moved here in 2010. Graham can speak both Creal, which is similar to French, as well as English. She says that she likes Haiti a lot, and just got back from visiting Haiti two weeks ago.

Graham also likes how much a person can express themselves in Port au Prince. She says that there is street art everywhere.

“The food is way better”, she says. “People are way closer too, even if they don’t have anything, people will give you everything they have”.