Christina Williamson, who graduated from Mercer Island High School on June 6, was one of five valedictorians at the 56th commencement of Mercer Island High School that took place last week. Williamson who hopes to study science at Pomona College in California, and has literally done it all.
She holds 12 varsity letters in high school sports, having been a team member or captain involved in a sport every season — water polo, basketball or swimming for four years.
In addition to sports, she has been involved in music since fifth grade.
She has been a member of the Mercer Island High School bands, a section leader who marched at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., with the band in 2012. She tried out several instruments before landing on the sousaphone in high school. She began with clarinet in elementary school, switching to trumpet in middle school and finally taking up the sousaphone, the same instrument that her brother had played in high school. She became a section leader and was the ‘M’ in the sousaphone row in the marching band.
She went to preschool at Mercer Island Learning Lab, taught by Judy Witmer at the old Boys and Girls Club, attended elementary school at Island Park, then went on to Islander Middle School and the high school. In between, she swam at the Mercer Island Country Club in the summers. In fourth grade, she broke the record for the shot put at the All Island Track meet. She is unsure that her record still stands, but remembers what led up to that moment.
“During P.E. class, everyone had a chance to try out the shot put, and I ended up really enjoying it,” she explained. “So my P.E. teacher, Mr. Jaramillo, and Nicole Walden’s grandfather, Jim Cullen, helped me improve at practices after school.”
Now, 14 years later, she still has the binder that Jaramillo gave her for breaking the record that contains all of the results from the meet, as well as a card from Cullen.
But it has been more than about sports and music.
Just a hair under 6 feet tall, the pretty blond girl with the dimples was named the class of 2013 Scholar Athlete for her scholastic achievements as well as her success in sports.
Williamson has found that she likes science and math and does well in each — a product of what both she and her parents believe is good teaching. She said that she felt that teachers made a big difference for her. She lists several teachers who she said helped and inspired, including: Dave Segadelli for math at the middle school, Aaron Noble for physics at the high school, along with a host of other teachers such as Kate Yoder, Kim Schjelderup Lynn Adset and Grant Weed, among others.
Her mother, Susan Williamson, agrees. “They are just good teachers that promote working your hardest,” she said. “I give the teachers great credit.”
Williamson does not feel out of the ordinary.
“A lot of my friends are into math and science,” she said.
Her social life has revolved around her sports teams and friends she has had since preschool days. She is not too into social media, she said. She hasn’t had enough time. Between band, studying, friends and sports practice, her days could start at 7 a.m. and last through dinner.
“The days could get long,” she admitted.
In the meantime, she has a few chores at home. She manages the recycling at home. After her brother left for college, she has taken over lawn mowing duties on the waterfront shared with neighbors.
“My parents encouraged me to be involved in school and sports rather than work,” she said.
She looks forward to college. She knows Pomona. She made an early decision to attend there. Her brother, Brian, attends school there, and over the years she has become familiar with the school on visits.
She wants to take some time to figure out her area of study, but believes she might need to have more of a plan than she does. But she wants to try a few things out first.
Williamson, center in the beret with the sousaphone, is a section leader in the Mercer Island High School marching band.