Senior Nikki Yoke knows what she wants — and knows how to get it.
Her success started the minute she walked through the high school doors her freshman year. She was determined to be successful in what she loved, contributing to the student body and the community.
Yoke is very active. She has submersed herself into extracurricular activities: participating in Speech and Debate, NHS, Spanish NHS, Key Club, Swim Team, and Animal Rights Club. She even manages to keep her grades up and is an IB Diploma Candidate.
“Ever since I was little, my mom told me to do the best in everything I do, [even if] it doesn’t always work out that way,” said Yoke.
Yoke is also a lifeguard and swim instructor at the Tigard Tualatin Aquatic Center to save money for college, a task her parents expect of her. She has also earned one of the highest merit-based scholarships possible from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio, the school her father attended. Yoke plans to study Biomedical Engineering.
Speech and Debate is one of her favorite activities. She has been participating since freshman year, specializing in humorous interpretation, earning the name for herself as team captain and as one of the best-known interpreters in the state. In her four years, she has won fourth place in the state championship and been an alternate in the national competition.
Yoke is also passionate about NHS. For her NHS project, she is teaming up with Spanish NHS to plan Latin Night, which will be in April. This night is dedicated to creating awareness and help for Latinos in need of medical care. They are even teaming up with Northwest Medical teams.
Yoke may be a talented speaker, but she also dedicates herself to music. Singing has always been a hobby of hers. She says she was influenced by her mom, saying that, “She would sing to me when I was little.”
Her mom later decided to switch her career to physics.
She said, “That influenced me a lot, too, the switch from music to science.”
Choir teacher Sue Hale has even asked her to audition, but Yoke turns down the offers because although she loves it, singing isn’t in her career path.
Her voice isn’t her only musical talent. Yoke started piano lessons when she was about five years old and even taught herself to play the guitar. She really enjoys performing, too. Lessons are a thing of the past, though, and she thinks of music as more of a hobby, not something to pursue as a career.
“It’s not realistic,” Yoke said.
With all of the responsibilities come many challenges. With mom and dad strict about grades, being an active member in clubs, and worrying about college,
Yoke admits, “I’ve been under a lot of pressure these last few years.”
Yoke recalls a particularly difficult time during sophomore year when she had a seizure in math class.
She was rushed to the ER in an ambulance, not remembering what happened before the seizure. She later came to her senses in the emergency room. Yoke remembered being extremely thirsty, but not being allowed anything to drink until after a CAT scan. She needed to have a series of MRIs, too. This was also the time when she learned that she has ADHD.
For a while she kept having what her neurologist called mini seizures. To this day she has to take medication. Luckily for Yoke, the seizures haven’t happened in a while.
Yoke said this year she has been fighting a new battle: Senioritis. Like most other seniors, Yoke has been trying to fight the urge to slack off, hoping to end the year strong.
Yoke says that what’s important to her is that she can, “Look back and either have made a difference or had fun.”