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Class of '08 represents change of reputation for Bremerton High

Bremerton High School senior Samantha Graziano gets knighted before walking across the stage to receive her diploma during graduation June 13. - Jesse Beals/staff photo
Bremerton High School senior Samantha Graziano gets knighted before walking across the stage to receive her diploma during graduation June 13.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

Bremerton High School seniors Carolyn Jewett and Regina Ogazi epitomize the changing face of the school in many ways, which in the past had a less than stellar reputation, but is now in the midst of taking its place among the best not only in Kitsap County, but the entire state of Washington.

As the valedictorian, Jewett shone brightly in the classroom, but she was active in the community at-large as well, donating countless hours to help others in need.

“I’m proud to graduate from BHS because I got the opportunity to explore my career options and go to Olympic College as well attend regular classes,” she said.

The faculty and staff at BHS were instrumental in encouraging every student to succeed in their chosen endeavors, she said.

“It’s been a great four years,” said the soon-to-be Washington State freshman, who was one of only 25 students statewide to be named a WSU Distinguished Regents Scholar, receiving a scholarship worth $60,000.

Remarkably, Jewett’s older sister, Kathryn Jewett, received the same honor as part of the BHS Class of 2007.

In addition to being a Washington State Scholar, the younger Jewett also earned national recognition as a National Merit Scholar, which is the National Merit Scholarship Program.

While academics were at the forefront of her focus during her high school years, Jewett said the highlight of her time at BHS was performing with the BHS Choir in Anaheim, Calif. earlier this year.

As salutatorian, Regina Ogazi made quite a name for herself during her four years at BHS as she and her twin sister, Dominica Ogazi, were featured on PBS last year for their cake-making business.

“I’ve worked very hard to get here and I’ve had a lot of support along the way,” said Regina Ogazi, who will attend Seattle Pacific University in the fall taking with her a bevy of scholarships from numerous local organizations.

The stringent graduation requirements, including the completion of a senior project and the compilation of a portfolio have adequately prepared the entire class for the challenges which lie ahead in the future, she said.

When people have asked what school she attends, Ogazi said her answer has always simply been “Bremerton High School” without hesitation, although the responses haven’t exactly been all smiles.

“It’s changed so much and it’s a really good school,” Ogazi said, adding that she hopes the majority of the public will take notice of the positives the school has and not dwell on the past.

For Bremerton Superintendent Bette Hyde, the class of 2008 was her last after seven years at the helm which have seen the district gain statewide and national accolades for its innovative instructional techniques and emphasis on learning from kindergarten through 12th grade.

“This class has been through so much and they’ve known since third grade they would be the first ones to do the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning),” Hyde said.

Even with that added pressure, the entire class has exceeded expectations and shone not only in the classroom, but in the community as well, Hyde said.

For parents like Julie Wasserburger, whose daughter Brittney graduated with Jewett, Ogazi and the more than 300 other seniors, the event was the culmination of an entire academic career spent in the Bremerton School District.

“I’m just so proud of her and what she’s done,” Wasserburger said. “She’s turned into a wonderful person.”

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