Rotary names top students for May

Kamiak, Mariner, ACES students celebrated
By Nicholas Johnson | May 31, 2017

The South Everett-Mukilteo Rotary Club has named students from Kamiak, Mariner and ACES as students of the month for May.

Kamiak High School senior Mengwei Chen is a member of National Honor Society. She has a 3.97 grade point average and is ranked 22nd out of 482 students at Kamiak.

Chen is Vice President of Kamiak DECA, placing in the Top-10 in the International Career Development Conference competition as a financial consultant. She is a four-year member of Kamiak’s Key Club and Founder and President of the Kamiak Chinese Club. Chen was also recently honored as the Taiping Association’s Student of the Year.

Chen is also a swimmer. She has been a member of the Knights swim team for four years, recently placing 8th in District-level competition in the 100-meter freestyle.

Chen is a reporter and editor for the local Chinese newspaper,, writing articles in Chinese and English. She is active in tutoring Kamiak students after school in math, biology, chemistry and physics. Chen has also volunteered teaching English and American culture to Chinese students.

Outside of school, Chen enjoys hiking, yoga and archery. She also travels to China every year to help with the family business and volunteer as an English teacher.

“I came to America during elementary school with only the ability to say hello and goodbye,” she said. “With hard work and dedication, I overcame the challenges and became who I am today.

“My most inspiring person has been my mother, who is a very successful woman with international accomplishments. Dragged along by her side, I’ve had various unique experiences, like being a translator of an Association Foundation or giving presentations and meeting influential people.”

After graduation, Chen plans on attending the University of Washington, to major in business.

Mariner High School senior Cayden Herbert boasts a 2.67 grade point average. He is 257th out of 477 seniors at Mariner High School.

Herbert has been involved in the Mariner community. Currently, he is the ASB Vice President, a member of the Peer Mediator Club and the Dance Club, and a LINK leader.

Herbert was Homecoming King, and physical education student of the month. He also received the Excellence in Citizenship and Sportsmanship award at Mariner.

Herbert is an exceptional varsity athlete, earning 1st-Team, All-Wesco in wrestling as a state competitor. He was also 2nd-Team, All-Wesco in football, and he was a member of the Marauder soccer team as a senior.

“Cayden Herbert is what the ideal P.E. kid should be,” Mariner P.E. teacher Darlene Miller said. “Cayden is contagiously optimistic. He can be seen at anytime and anyplace always with a smile on his face and encouraging words coming out of his mouth. He leads by example and always strives to do his best.

“Cayden is a great leader and I feel blessed to have been able to share his high school career.”

Outside of Mariner, Herbert helps with special needs students, volunteers at his church and gets involved in various community events. He has overcome serious medical issues, too.

“I like to say hi to people because it is a privilege to be where I am today because of my significant brain damage,” he said. “I have to enjoy every moment of my life. I love to do everything and find fun in my activities every day.

“I know that I was only one decision away from being severely disabled or dead if it was not for one doctor who had noticed that I might have a rare brain virus called HSV Encephalitis,” he said. “Fortunately, he gave me the right medicine. I don’t know if I would be the person I am today, or even be alive today. I am so thankful.”

After graduation, Herbert plans on attending Central Washington University to major in communications.

ACES High School senior Gracie Smith came to ACES as a sophomore from Jackson High School. Since attending ACES, she has grown both academically and socially.

Smith describes herself as shy, but since enrolling at ACES, she has blossomed with confidence. She has made many new friends, including English teacher, Shirley Tune.

Smith also enjoys history, giving a lot of credit to Mr. Thomas Kearney for helping and encouraging her, making the class fun and interesting.

Smith has played recreational and select soccer. Her favorite activities are camping, riding dirt-bikes and working on her truck. Smith also loves to bake and bring cookies to her friends.

Every summer for the past four years, Smith has gone on a mission trip to Mexico with her church. She has also helped her dad on his tour bus, going to Yellowstone National Park and other fun places. Smith also works at Patty’s Eggnest restaurant in Everett.

After graduation, Smith is planning on attending Everett Community College. Her goal is to become a high school counselor.

The South Everett-Mukilteo Rotary Club meets every Friday at 12:15 p.m. at Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill & Irish Pub in Everett. More information: visit

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