Sprague and West Salem High School Youth Appreciation!

On April 18th, the Optimist Club of Salem met with students, faculty and guests from Sprague and West Salem High Schools to present our Youth Appreciation awards to another group of very deserving students.  We enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Culinary Arts students at the Salem Keizer Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) and got to meet these amazing students.

 Below are synopses of each student.

Sprague High School

Gabriella Graham

Achievement in Fine and Performing Arts

Gabriella (Brie), while technically a Junior, will be graduating a year early at the end of this school year.  This accomplishment is made all the more amazing when you consider all that she has accomplished outside of the classroom.  Brie has been a leader in the Theatre department and has consistently shown professionalism, reliability and a strong work ethic.  She has played two lead roles in Sprague’s Fall and Winter productions and has volunteered her time and services to the Unified Theatre class.  Brie organized a group musical number that not only qualified for State Thespians but also won first place in the competition.  Brie organized a successful fundraising event for Sprague’s Thespian Troupe.  Needless to say, Brie has kept very busy during her time at Sprague.


In the Fall Brie plans to attend Linn-Benton Community College to learn Imaging and Radiology.  In addition, she has signed with a talent agency in Portland and will be doing auditions for parts in commercials and television shows.

Sage Taloyo

Achievement in Fine and Performing Arts

Sage is a Senior at Sprague and is an accomplished violinist with the Sprague Orchestra.  Sage is a natural leader who leads by example, always arriving early to practice and lead sectionals.  She shares her talent and love for music by helping others from Freshman to even actors trying to act like they are playing the violin.  She is always looking for opportunities to spread music throughout the community by playing at civic events as well as at Salem’s Farmer’s Market.


Next Fall, Sage will be attending Cal State Long Beach with plans to earn a double major in music performance and psychology with the goal of performing in a Symphony Orchestra.

Jaxon Grow

Achievement in Fine and Performing Arts

Jaxon is a senior who has participated in multiple choirs during his years at Sprague.  He is currently the choir president and is also a student conductor in the Baritone Choir.  Jaxon’s tremendous preparation, good humor, and willingness to listen has made him a leader who has earned the respect of his peers.  He routinely spends many hours outside of class preparing leadership and conducting assignments.  In addition to his choir work, Jaxon has also had leading rolls in Theatre productions at Sprague.


Jaxon was unable to attend our luncheon, so there is no picture to accompany this introduction, but we do want to congratulate him and wish him the very best as he begins the next chapter in his life.

West Salem High School

Chase Warner

Achievement in Vocational Technology

Chase is a Senior at West Salem High School who is being recognized for his leadership in West Salem’s robotics program.  He has led two teams to the VEX Robotics Competition World Championships.  As a Junior his team won the Judges Award and made it to the division semifinals.  This year they again qualified to compete at the 2024 World Championships in Dallas, Texas.


After graduation, Chase will be off to college to study Mechanical Engineering.

Dayanara Merchant-Trejo

Most Involved in Community Service

Dayanara (Dani) is a Senior at West and is this year’s ASB President.  Dani is involved in a number of activities and programs both at her school and in the community.  In addition to her school government leadership, she has assisted in Red Cross Blood Drives at West and served on the Principal’s Advisory Board where she helps brainstorm and put into action ideas to improve the West Salem High School experience.  Her involvement in her community includes volunteering at the Salem Hospital Flu Clinic, serving as a mentor and tutor at Straub and Walker Middle Schools and volunteering at her church.


Dani will be going to the University of Portland to major in Psychology with the goal of becoming a family marriage counselor.

Madison Forest

Achievement in Vocational Technology

Madison is a Junior at West Salem High School who is described by her teachers as responsible, respectful, and reliable.  She has participated in all the Health Services classes at West and is recognized as a leader in that program.  Madison has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Red Cross Blood drives at her school.  In addition to her class work, she has spent time job shadowing at Salem Hospital. Madison is also on the track and soccer teams at West.


After another year of high school, Madison plans to pursue a career as a Pediatric Nurse.

Award Photos

Sprague High School

West Salem High School

Group Photo of all of our honored students