McNary High School Youth Appreciation!

The Optimist Club of Salem met with students, faculty, and guests from McNary High School on February 15th for the first Youth Appreciation Luncheon of the 2023-2024 school year.  We enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared by students at the Salem Keizer Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) and got to meet four amazing students.  It was a great start to this year's Youth Appreciation Program 

Below are synopses of each student.

Emma Talento

Achievement in Fine and Performing Arts

Emma is a Senior at McNary and has been active in both the theater and music programs.  In theater, she has had several lead roles and according to McNary’s Theater teacher, “she is an outstanding Performer and student that has brought comedy, nuance and heart to each performance”.  She has been a Teacher’s Assistant in the beginning theater class for the last two years helping students new to theater feel like they can fit in and be successful.  In addition to theater, Emma is also a member of the Something Blue ensemble as well as the Acapella choir and was selected for the All-city Honor choir.   Outside of school, she has worked as a summer camp counselor for 3rd – 6th graders.  


After graduation, Emma plans to go to college with the goal of becoming a Theater or English teacher. 

Jake Youngblutt

Achievement in Vocational Technology

Jake is a Senior at McNary who is being recognized for his leadership and high quality of work in the automotive program at McNary.  His automotive teacher emphasized his high level of professionalism, attendance and punctuality, willingness to learn by asking questions and an ability to work with others in a variety of situations.  The fact that Jake is the head of the repair team that works on the cars of McNary staff definitely confirms the confidence that others have in Jake’s abilities.


After graduation, Jake plans to enlist in either the Navy or Air Force to be trained as an aircraft mechanic.  

Clara Seitz

Achievement in Mathematics and Science

Clara is a Senior at McNary.  Over the past two years she taken Honors and AP Chemistry as well as AP Biology and Anatomy and Physiology where she has, according to her Chemistry Teacher, “crushed and destroyed curves”.  Obviously, a gifted student, Clara also volunteers at Salem Hospital to get more experience for a future career in medicine.  Outside of school, she enjoys playing the piano, including occasionally serving as the pianist for her church during worship services.  


After graduation, Clara will be attending college followed by Medical School with the goal of becoming a trauma or transplant surgeon.


Walea Tombleson

Most Involved in Community Service

Walea is a Senior at McNary.  She has served on the McNary Leadership Council for four years.  Her leadership teacher highlighted her level-headed enthusiasm, quick wit and kindness that generates respect from both peers and underclassmen.  She has an ability to coordinate in a manner that provides inclusive opportunities in leadership for other students.  This year she is the student in charge of all the assemblies at McNary.  Outside of school, Walea volunteers in the childcare center at her church.


After graduation, Walea plans to go to college with the goal of becoming a math teacher.

Award Photo