Valedictorians and National Merit Finalists Jake Kanyer and Logan Boyd headline Vanguard Class of 2017

Logan Boyd and Jake Kanyer have been commuting from Hillsboro and Tualatin, respectively, to Veritas for so long that it's unclear which leg of the trip feels more like going home.

Kanyer joined the school in fifth grade and Boyd followed in sixth, but since then, they have been traveling in parallel as high achievers. SETH GORDON - Veritas graduates Jake Kanyer (left) and Logan Boyd shared valedictorian honors at graduation Friday night and were named National Merit Finalists this spring.

That includes being named National Merit Finalists earlier this year and sharing valedictorian honors at graduation ceremonies Friday evening at Newberg Friends Church.

"I'm way more familiar with downtown Newberg than I am even with Tualatin or Wilsonville, by a long shot," Kanyer said. "It's not just going to school. A large portion of my friends are down here."

Thanks to a walking tour of Newberg with history teacher Geary Linhart, Boyd added that he even knows more about the history of Newberg than he does his hometown.

"I love being able to just walk Newberg and I'll see teachers driving by, which I don't get at home," Boyd said. "Whenever I meet them at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Newberg and say 'Hi,' and eat with them, it contributes to the community feel that Newberg has and Veritas more so."

The sense of community at Veritas is what the pair have appreciated most about their time at the small private school, though the classical Christian education was pretty important, too.

"Not many people can claim that they've taken every single class from the fifth grade to high school with the same group of people," Kanyer said. "We're basically family at this point. Some of my friends will tell me they took a class with this person and then never saw them again. That's just not an option here. For our class at least, we form really tight, deep and meaningful bonds."

Boyd and Kanyer became the sixth and seventh Veritas seniors to be named National Merit Finalists since 2013, which opened the door to full-ride scholarships at some of the top universities in the country.

After applying to a wide range of schools across the country, the pair will both land in Texas in the fall, with Boyd heading to Texas Tech University to study mechanical engineering and Kanyer set to study political science at Baylor University.

Both were introduced to the schools because they participate in the National Merit Scholarship program, but later found out there were numerous other attractions for each. Both have also opted to enter honors programs to get a mix of a small community at a large school.

"It's a massive honor,' Kanyer said. "I still can't believe I'm at the level they think I that am."

Boyd takes extra satisfaction in achieving National Merit Finalist status because it's something his older brother, Christian, can no longer claim exclusive rights to.

"It feels good that I'm not second to my brother," Boyd said. "We're on par now."

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