Thursday, July 25, 2024

Isabel Menna and Julian Valdez named 2024 CHS Valedictorians


LEAVENWORTH – Cascade High School seniors Isabel Menna and Julian Valdez have been named co-valedictorians for the class of 2024, recognizing their outstanding academic achievements throughout their high school careers.

“I think CHS has been very good at preparing me. We have some fantastic teachers, fantastic kids. Everyone is super supportive and flexible. ” said Menna. 

Menna pursued endurance sports throughout high school as captain on her cross country running team and racing on the junior national team for cross country skiing. She was the president of Sustainability Club, and a member of the Knowledge Bowl team. On top of that, she also plays the cello and sings.

However, her proudest achievement was serving as Editor-in-Chief for the CHS yearbook and digital newspaper, Kodiak Chronicle, through Cascade’s Publications class. During her junior year in Publications, Menna received a first place award from the American Scholastic Press Association for an article she wrote during the pandemic titled, “The 1918-1920 Spanish Flu Pandemic: Lessons Learned and Lessons Forgotten.”

In addition to CHS courses, Menna and her sister challenged themselves to take college level classes through independent study in order to prepare themselves for the future.

“It's definitely hard learning some higher level things all by yourself, and so I was so happy that my sister took it with me because she was great at helping me with that,” said Menna. 

Like Menna, Valdez found support and inspiration from his sister. Valdez grew up in Dryden, and decided to stay in the Cascade School District when his family moved to Cashmere, in order to follow in the footsteps of his three siblings. 

“I think my parents did a great job constantly looking out and helping me when I needed it, but my sister definitely motivated me to get the highest grade possible. She was the valedictorian of the class of 2016, so she was a big motivator and helped me succeed,” said Valdez.

Valdez played soccer and basketball his sophomore, junior and senior years. He was involved with Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and Sports Medicine Club. Valdez became the store manager for FBLA his junior year, and president his senior year. He placed 6th in the state for Business Law.

“I think both those clubs were very helpful in building my confidence. Both FBLA and Sports Medicine Club have conferences, and in those conferences, I learned the importance of branching out and being confident in my abilities,” said Valdez.

If Valdez were to give one piece of advice to incoming freshmen, it would be to make sure they have a well-rounded life throughout high school.

“Go to as many sporting events as you can, attend the fun events after school, [and] participate in clubs that you find interesting. Grades aren't the only thing that matters, finding a great mentor to help you after high school and gaining forever friends is just as, if not more, important,” said Valdez.

Valdez will attend the University of Washington. Driven by his interests in math and hands-on learning, Valdez will pursue an engineering degree. Menna will take a gap year to attend a folk school in Norway, where she will surf, ski and mountain bike. Afterwards, she plans to attend Dartmouth College. Menna is still undecided, but is interested in dual majoring in biology and English.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or


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