Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Valedictorian pals reminisce


by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Valedictorians Madeline Dinsdale and Landon Young have been friends since eighth grade.Madeline Dinsdale and Landon Young are fond of a particular bit of checkered tile in an Estacada High School hallway.

“When we were in eighth grade we’d always come to high school basketball games, but instead come to this checkered floor and hang out,” Dinsdale said.

“One day Landon said, ‘When I’m in high school I’m going to come here every day to this checkered spot and say ‘I am ready for school!’”

This makes both of them laugh.

It seems that when the friends got to high school, they took it by storm.

They were involved in student council, National Honor Society and were Link leaders.

Dinsdale was prom queen, showed goats in 4-H, was in the culture club, was basketball manager her junior year, played soccer and tennis and ran cross country at various times during her time in high school.

Young was in First Priority (a Christian student group), participated in the Ford Leadership program, volunteered in Haiti with his church last June, was basketball manager at one point and played football and tennis.

Oh, and they were also the class of 2013 valedictorians.

They shrug when asked if they have any advice for other students.

“They should really get involved in as many activities as they can,” Dinsdale says eventually.

Young agrees. He said activities and clubs help “you feel more important.”

Dinsdale added that activities and clubs help students to get to know people, connect with the community and get into college.

“If people wanted to get good grades like us, they have to work really hard,” Dinsdale cautioned.

Young mentioned Estacada’s small town nature as an incentive to get good grades and maintain a good reputation.

“Estacada’s good. It’s nice to be in a small town, you know everyone,” he said before mentioning the down side. “When anything happens, everyone knows about it.”

He cited this as a major factor in his drive to achieve academically.

“My parents had a big influence on me too,” he added.

Dinsdale and Young hold Spanish teacher Benjamin Hargrave in high esteem.

His name came up right away when asked if there were any teachers they’d like to recognize.

“He was on top of it. I don’t know how he does it. I’m pretty sure he gets like three or four hours of sleep a night,” Young said.

He mentioned how Hargrave often would grade students’ work the night he received it, even when in the midst of training for a triathalon.

“Mr. Hargrave is hilarious!” Dinsdale added.

Dinsdale and Young explained that Hargrave had sent hand-made cards with nice or encouraging messages to his students.

“You can genuinely tell he wants us to learn. And he doesn’t give up on anyone,” Young said. “He’s one of the best teachers I’ve had.”

Dinsdale is headed to Reed College in Portland next year and is planning to major in biology.

Dinsdale credits her A.P. biology class for motivating her to pursue the field.

But it also was the hardest thing about this year.

“It really consumed my life,” she said.

She’s excited for the “change of scenery” with Reed.

She chose the school because several family members went there, it’s close to home and they offered her excellent financial aid.

Young is off to the University of Washington in Seattle in the fall and he’s leaning toward an engineering major.

He credits an “engineering day” he participated in through ASPIRE for piquing his interest in the field.

As for the move from Estacada to Seattle, “Going to college, I’m going to be stepping out of my comfort zone anyway. Might as well go big.”