Tracking Student Success

The Port Angeles School District's teachers and staff are proud of our Port Angeles High School and Lincoln High School graduates. Tracking Student Success features former students, giving us a glimpse of their thoughts about Port Angeles schools and a brief look at their successes since high school graduation. If you'd like to recommend a student for this feature, please send an email to [email protected]

Jackie Johnson, PAHS Class of 2010


Growing up and completing school here in Port Angeles was such a unique experience, which I believe has propelled me in the direction I’m going now. This small yet tight knit community has nurtured my skills of hard work and determination, as well as my appreciation of nature. It’s a privilege to say I grew up here and it’s strongly part of my identity.

My dad, Dwayne Johnson, is by far my greatest mentor and teacher. But two of my eighth grade teachers, Mr. Pat Durr and Mr. Rob Edwards, gave me, and still give me, the push and confidence “to steer my own boat.” These educators framed discussions with me as “when I would go to college” not “if I would go to college.” They were the first to show me the possibility of college, as well as help me with the confidence I needed to succeed. Looking back, this was huge for me since middle school was a struggle. I still am in contact with them today, and their advice, particularly from Mr. Edwards, still poses the questions, “What’s next?” and “What’s the main objective?”

In the eighth grade, I presented my digital portfolio - my accomplishments, my various classes, my educational plans - to the then Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson. I remember the feeling of nervousness and insecurity being replaced by confidence and as I reflected on all the hard work I put into my portfolio. Later, my portfolio became the example for the Stevens Digital Literacy program and was presented at the Microsoft Innovative Teacher program and the World Wide Innovative Conference in Philadelphia in 2006.

Throughout middle school and high school, I participated in cross-country, track and field, gymnastics and I played the violin in orchestra. I can easily say if I didn’t participate in these programs I wouldn’t have been as successful as I am now. Learning how to compete and perform makes you have great problem-solving skills and confidence. There are few people that can say they’ve performed in Carnegie Hall or that they’ve ran races in weather that can encompass all seasons in one day, and having those experiences makes public speaking or presentations a lot easier. I actually pick up my violin every now and then to create background music for some of my films! I still run, not nearly as fast though.

I was a Running Start student and graduated from Peninsula College in 2010 at the same time I received my high school diploma from Port Angeles High School. I graduated from the University of Washington in late 2013 with my Bachelors of Arts in American Indian Studies with a minor in Anthropology and received my Master in Communication, specifically in Documentary Filmmaking, in 2016.

After completing my Master degree, I spent ten months abroad through two different programs through the University of Washington. The first, the Māhina International Indigenous Health Research Training Program, provided me an internship in New Zealand researching institutional racism and how community based participatory research is conducted within indigenous communities. The second, the Bonderman Travel Fellowship, allowed me to travel solo around the world for eight consecutive months to Australia, Greenland, Mongolia, Nepal, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, and China.

I just returned from my travels and am preparing to apply for PhD programs. In the meantime, I’m doing some freelance photography and filming, as well as hiking and running with my dog.

Trisha Parker, PAHS Class of 2005


Growing up in Port Angeles has instilled the importance of giving, worldly thinking, and challenging myself personally and professionally. My parents are my first teachers and likely had the biggest impact on my decisions, as they provided me a solid foundation of ethics and morals and the gift of travel.

My path through the Port Angeles schools was enriched by the people I came into contact with and who I consider friends today. Marty Peterson, Susan Anderson, Jean Sigmar, Lara Brown and Lisa Joslin all hold special places in my heart, as they encouraged me, challenged me, and loved me, and they still do today. I feel fortunate to have smart, strong-willed female teachers in my life. They helped me be that way.

I participated in basketball and track at Roosevelt Middle School and FBLA, soccer, tennis and swimming in high school. The most beneficial aspect of my extracurricular involvement was the social interaction with other people outside the classroom setting. Lifelong friendships were formed.

In high school it became evident I had a business mindset. Lisa Joslin helped foster those skills through her computer and business classes at the high school. Not knowing exactly what career path I wanted to take, I decided to capitalize on my business and technical skills and leave my options open to a variety of career fields by pursuing a Bachelors in Business Administration/Marketing at Western Washington University.

Upon completion of my degree, I served as the AmeriCorps retention project coordinator, running a mentoring program for at-risk youth and master in teaching students and coordinating service-learning opportunities. After my term was up, I accepted an opportunity at Peninsula College doing marketing and foundation work which expanded to recruitment and public relations.

In early 2016 I took a leap of faith and decided to follow my true passion. I earned my Real Estate Broker’s License, transitioned from the College to full-time real estate with Port Angeles Realty, and haven’t looked back since. “If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is exactly how I feel.

Right now my most important role is being a mom to two girls – Layla, six years, and Macy, one – with my husband, Justin Parker.

Parker received her Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from California State University, Fullerton.

Reed Wendel, PAHS Class of 1998

devlinGrowing up in Port Angeles exposed me to so many great outdoor activities like backpacking, fishing, and skiing. An enjoyment of being outside is one of many reasons I chose to become a forester.

I believe that educational success depends upon having skilled teachers with a knack and passion for teaching. One of my many teachers with that enthusiasm was J.C. Kilmer, my 7th grade homeroom teacher at Roosevelt Middle School. During our geography units, Mr. Kilmer shared stories of his own travels which made the places we were learning about seem more real. He also had us create color and relief maps of the areas of the world that we were studying. After being in Mr. Kilmer's class, I competed in the National Geographic Geography Bee at the state level. These experiences spurred an interest in cartography which led me to take college classes in human geography and geographic information systems.

I am very grateful for the Advanced Placement classes offered by Port Angeles High School and my AP teachers: Mrs. Duncan-Taylor, Mr. Rennie and Mr. McLaughlin. As a junior and senior, I was able to take AP classes in Biology, U.S. History and English. These classes provided a needed challenge, prepared me for the rigor of college level classes, and allowed me to earn college credits while still in high school.

One activity from these classes that stands out was DNA analysis using gel electrophoresis in Mrs. Duncan-Taylor's biology class. This was an ambitious project and required a knowledgeable teacher.

I swam, participated in school plays and Youth in Government, and I competed in Knowledge Bowl. Not only were these activities fun, they also provided important challenges and learning.

Today, I work as the forest inventory manager for Green Crow in Port Angeles. I manage its geographic information systems database in a sort of big digital map in order to keep track of harvest and forestry operations. My unique duty is keeping track of where and how fast all the trees are growing. One of the aspects of my job that I like is that it takes me outdoors and is both physically and mentally challenging. Each stand of trees is different, and I get to use math and science to characterize each stand.

I am currently enrolled in the Washington State AgForestry Leadership program, and I will be travelling to India and Nepal with AgForestry in 2017.

Wendel graduated with a B.S. from University of Washington's College of Forest Resources in 2002; he returned to the UW College of Forest Resources for an MS in 2009.

Devlin Borg-McDaniel, PAHS Class of 2016

devlinDevlin Borg-McDaniel, graduate of June’s Port Angeles High School’s class of 2016, definitely went through a lot of changes in his time growing up in Port Angeles.  But one thing he was always sure of…He didn’t want to go down a problem-filled path.  

“I was taught to work for things I want,” Borg-McDaniel said. “My family pushed me to challenge myself. My dad and the rest of my family are hard workers and that gave me the motivation to work hard too.”

In his sophomore year of high school, Borg-McDaniel struggled with his grades and didn’t have any ideas for what he wanted to do in life.  College was not financially attainable, or so he thought at the time, and he entertained the idea of dropping out of high school.

Borg-McDaniel credits PAHS woods technology teacher Tim Branham for providing key support when he needed it most.  “He watched me grow during four years of woods classes,” Borg-McDaniel said. “He saw my struggles and knew of my poor grades in other classes. Through his encouragement, and using woods classes as a passion, I was able to focus and get my grades up.”

Although he spent much of his time “focused on getting through high school,” he participated in SkillsUSA state events in Job Demo and Cabinetmaking as a junior and senior. 

“In my junior year, I met a Marine recruiter,” Borg-McDaniel continued, “and although I wasn’t interested at first, he told me of the options in the Corps.  I was especially interested in the GI bill which gave me the option to attend college after the service.”

Making a commitment to the Marines early clearly gave Borg-McDaniel the motivation he needed to get his grades up and look forward to his future. 

He just finished Boot Camp and although he’s made a four year commitment and is uncertain as to where he’ll be stationed, he now has a plan and that clearly makes him happy. “Maybe I’ll make the Marines a career, or go to a four year college or a two year technical college, or take classes for business. One day I may set up my own wood shop and make ‘man-made’ products.” 

Michell Gentry, PAHS Class of 1986

mgentryI always felt like Port Angeles was the best place to live. We had both the mountains and the water, and everyone knew everyone else.  As an adult, I love that many of my friends are people I have known since I was in first grade at Monroe School.  It has made me feel like everyone I meet is potentially a lifelong friend.

One of my favorite memories happened in elementary school.  I lived behind the Mil-Key Farm store then.  All the kids in the neighborhood waited for the bus together and we would often play Red Rover or Dead Rabbit.  Mr. Kenney was our principal and every now and again he would come by and join in the game with us ….as long as we weren’t playing in the actual street.  I always wondered if “city” kids got to do that too.

The most impactful program I was involved with at Port Angeles High School was Junior Achievement. It was a program for young entrepreneurs.  We created small whiteboards before they were an everyday item.  The program exposed me to a group of students I had never interacted with before. I still use some of the business skills I learned then as I plan projects and try to serve the community I live in.

I am currently working for the Port Angeles School District as the AmeriCorps Program coordinator. I have the opportunity to bring young people to our community to give service in our schools as mentors/tutors. 

One of the best things I do for myself is serve as an advisor for the YMCA Youth and Government Program.  This year will be my 25th season.  The chance to be with smart, driven teens each week keeps me learning and growing and is my idea of fun. We have 28 students this year and we are preparing for the Youth Legislative Session in May.  (We need to raise about $13,000 dollars to get that many students there! Want to help? Write to [email protected].)

I spent 23 years in the YMCA serving the communities I lived in and have a strong belief in the power of community and want nothing more than to instill that belief in the kids and teens I work with. In the future, I plan to run for a seat in the Washington State Senate.

A.J. Teel, PAHS Class of 2003

ajteelGrowing up in Port Angeles has given me a heart for this town. It’s a town of inspiring beauty yet it has experienced its fair share of struggles and pain.

My experience at PAHS as a student is largely what has led me to want to work at the school. My sister Stephanie Caldwell passed away a little over a year ago by suicide. I can’t drive through Port Angeles or go near the 8th Street bridges without thinking about her and the drug issues that exist in our town.

I became the president of a small club called Rough Riders Against Destructive Decision (RADD). One of our tasks was to receive training and teach what we had learned to the freshman class. We taught students about the dangers of tobacco and showed them ways advertising targets teenagers. I remember attending those classes as a senior with a big bag of Jolly Ranchers and throwing them to kids to encourage participation. I now have the same size bag in my office for when I go into the freshman Health class. I have picked up where I left off…

I also participated in track and field and the Astronomy Club. These gave me a sense of belonging which was really needed after leaving the “party” crowd. These clubs and extracurricular activities were very important to me and helped redeem my high school experience. I remember being influenced by the inspirational speeches of my coaches, especially from Dwayne Johnson who is now the district athletic director.

As the drug and alcohol interventionist at PAHS, I am really looking forward to the challenge of doing all that I can to help with the substance abuse issue on campus. I know that I may not be able to solve the whole problem, but I am excited to have this opportunity to do all I can.

It’s been an interesting transition from my former career as a plumber. I have been to Africa three times visiting the Masai Tribe to work on small relief projects. My Masai name is Lemayan which means “blessings or the blessed one” because the first time I went there they were in drought, and it rained the day I arrived and the day I left.

I have an Associates of Applied Science in Addiction Studies. I was certified as a Washington State Chemical Dependency Professional after a 2,500 hour internship at Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services and then passed the required state exam.