Castaneda, Wyatt named Elks Students of the Month

Congratulations to Courtney Castaneda and Carly Wyatt, seniors at Hood River Valley High School and January’s Elks Students of the Month.


Courtney Castaneda

Castaneda’s community and volunteer service ranges far and wide. She has logged hundreds of hours through her involvement in FFA. She helped serve the Farmers’ Breakfast to thank local farmers for their support. She participated in Touch and See Day, and NAPA Days to encourage youth to get involved in 4H and FFA. She regularly works at FFA barbecues and is very involved in the club itself, serving in various leadership positions — she has been the treasurer, secretary, and vice president at the local level, and the sentinel at the district level. She’s gathered cans and money for the FFA food drive as well as the HRVHS canned food drive She’s also performed volunteer work with her 4H club, sewing aprons and baking cookies, and teaching kids how to show livestock. She has led camp groups, and the local Clover Bud 4H group. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, and served as escort for the Evening of Excellence. She’s helped out at the local Swim-a-Thon, works for the Lions Club, was a Link Leader, and has volunteered at Little League concessions and water polo fundraiser meets. She helps out at vacation bible school and is part of the Lions Follies. Castaneda says that her work with the Lions Follies has been especially meaningful, because she works with so many different people and gets to see the results come together so beautifully. She has helped at volleyball camps, and at a fundraiser for Lila May.

Castaneda also loves the water. She is a veteran of the girls water polo team; the girls are two time state champions. She’s also on the VRV swim team, and does club swim as well. She takes advanced classes at HRV such as AP Chemistry, Honors Medical Biology, and Writing 121, and carries a 3.7 GPA. She has danced for Columbia Gorge Dance Academy and plays volleyball. Castaneda also works at local restaurant Bette’s Place.

Castaneda is the daughter of Ricardo and Sheri Castaneda. She has two siblings, Emilio, who also attends HRV, and Marina, who attends Wy’east Middle School. She plans to attend Linfield College and major in nursing.

Wyatt is the daughter of Jodi and Larry Wyatt. She has two siblings, Miles and Tatum. She is an exemplary scholar who maintains a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of the National Honor Society and received the AP Scholar Award from the College Board. With her eye on the future, she has already earned eight college credits from Columbia Gorge Community College.


Carly Wyatt

Wyatt has contributed many volunteer hours to the community. She has shopped for needy families for the Christmas Project, served dinners through the Meals on Wheels program, helped the homeless do their laundry at EcoLaundry, collected donations for the FISH Food Bank, worked with Habitat for Humanity to help remodel a house for a low income family, volunteered at Valley Christian Church, setting up for the annual simplicity sale and teaching Sunday school to youngsters, volunteered at Westside School’s game night, and babysat children at Hood River Middle School’s Hispanic parent information night.

Wyatt is a member of the Varsity Girls Golf team and has participated in music and band all four years. She sings in the choir and Aurora, and plays the oboe in the band. She has been a dancer at Columbia Gorge Dance Academy since 2013 and used her dancing and singing skills in four high school musicals. When not at school, Wyatt has worked as a nursery attendant at her church, as a babysitter, and as a summer day camp counselor. She has a knack for working with children and says that her most meaningful volunteer experience was when she volunteered to help teach a ukulele class for elementary school children. She loved it because she was able to combine her passions of working with kids and playing music.

Wyatt’s college plans are to major in human biology and early childhood education. Her top college choices are the University of Oregon Honors College, the OSU Honors College, University of Redlands, and Pacific University.

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