Hood River Elks Lodge names Johnston, Gray Students of the Month

Nathan Johnston and Kristen Gray, both Hood River Valley High School seniors, have been selected as the February Elks Students of the Month. Both were presented checks for $100 in recognition of their volunteer efforts in the community and their achievements at school during last week’s lodge meeting.


Nathan Johnston

Johnston is the son of Jennifer and Chris Johnston. He is an excellent student, maintaining a 3.85 GPA, while taking Honors and AP classes such as Calculus, Medical Biology, and Writing 121/122. He has taken four years of Spanish, and has been in the National Honor Society for three years. He is currently serving as the secretary of the local NHS Chapter. He not only takes care of his own academics, he also volunteers as a math and science tutor for students at the high school. Helping his peers understand difficult subjects has been his most meaningful community service.

Johnston is very active in HRVHS clubs. He has served in several officer positions for the school’s Model UN Club, and has been a Link leader and student ambassador, both designed to welcome new students to HRVHS. Much of his extracurricular time is spent on the school’s speech and debate team. He competes in expository speaking, oratory, impromptu speaking, parliamentary debate, and Lincoln-Douglas debate. As you can see, Johnston loves to argue. Johnston is also involved in extracurricular activities. He has been a cross country runner for several years, and has played clarinet for seven years.

As for volunteer work, Johnston likes to mix it up. He has manned a refueling station at the Columbia Gorge Marathon, volunteered for the Hood River Christmas Project, helped to organize scholarship night, and worked as a camp counselor for youth at an engineering summer camp.

He has helped organize the school’s Valentine’s Day dance, and moderated various rounds of robotics competitions.

Johnston’s younger brother Kevin also attends Hood River Valley High School. Johnston plans to enroll in the Honors program at Western Washington University and to study neuroscience, or something else biology-related. Congratulations to Johnston for being awarded Elks Student of the Month.


Kristen Gray

Gray is the daughter of Linda and Brian Gray. Her brother, John, will soon be attending Oregon State University.

Gray has been involved in leadership, played volleyball, and was a track team member. She maintains a 3.95 GPA. Her motivation and diligence toward academic achievement and learning make her an excellent student. She is dedicated and hard-working, two qualities that she demonstrates outside of the classroom as well.

Gray has worked in the summer as a boat dock attendant at Lost Lake, as a gardener for a local resident, and as a laborer at Stillwater Ranch. She has also participated in a variety of volunteer work in our community. She works at the Hukari Animal shelter where she walks dogs; she runs the snack shack for Hood River and Little League baseball games; she has volunteered at the Hood River Valley Adult Center, making food and doing clean-up; she worked in a local orchard; and babysat children for parents attending Juntos meetings.

During Community Work Day, she did house cleaning and lawn work for an elderly resident and helped with the construction of a new playground. Gray currently volunteers at Providence Memorial Hospital in the emergency room, where she greets visitors, cleans, and helps the nurses. She finds this volunteer work the most meaningful because she enjoys the hospital atmosphere and feels she is part of its overall function.

Gray hopes to attend Pacific Lutheran University in the fall and is considering a major in nursing with a minor in Spanish. She has taken Spanish all four years in high school and is currently a Spanish AP student. Her Spanish skills are exemplary. Her work ethic, motivation for learning, and community service will certainly guide her toward a very successful and fulfilling university experience. She is an excellent student and a genuine, caring individual. Gray is an outstanding choice for this scholarship.

The Elks Lodge would like to congratulate these two outstanding students. It is our honor to recognize them for their contributions to the community.

— Submitted by Nan Noteboom for Hood River Elks Lodge

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