Haley Williams

Peninsula High School senior is an outstanding scholar-athlete who has a passion to serve others

Students of DistinctionApril 2, 2014 

Haley Williams excels at everything she does — and she does a lot. Ranked No. 1 academically, she’s an athlete and a leader who has extensive community service.

Williams has been described as having both a keen intellect and the discipline required to be successful. She’s a swimmer who trains nearly year-round with the Tacoma Swim Club, and she’s also been a member of the Peninsula High School swimming team.

She has a long list of athletic accolades, including awards for team spirit and MVP. She competed at the district meet and qualified for state for three years, and she served as team captain last fall.

“She is a high achiever and strives to do her best,” Peninsula swimming coach Craig Brown said. “She always does her utmost for herself and her team.”

Brown said Williams is someone who’s interested in everyone around her, and she treats people with cheerful enthusiasm.

“She relates extremely well with her peers and is willing to take time to help teammates to improve their skills and knowledge,” Brown said. “She sticks to her commitments, even when it’s hard, and she follows through.”

Williams grew up in a family of swimmers — her parents met at a swim club — and she started to compete with a club when she was 9.

“I love being in the water,” Williams said. “I really like that you race against yourself, to improve your time and do the best you can each time. It’s challenging physically and mentally to push through.”

Her list of commitments also includes being active with the youth group at Believers Fellowship. One memorable experience that pushed her to grow was a mission trip to Mexico.

This year, she’s been on the leadership team at her church, for which she’s served as a mentor.

Academically, Williams said she’s personally motivated. She was homeschooled through eighth grade, and she learned to do whatever it takes to succeed.

“She is one of the best and brightest students I have ever taught,” said David Morgan, Ph.D., a history teacher at Peninsula High School. “Haley is a student who stands out, not only due to her strong academic grades, but also because of her maturity, thoughtfulness and critical-thinking skills.”

Williams plans to take pre-physical therapy courses in college, and she hopes to be on a swim team. She eventually wants to attend graduate school. Her goal is to become a physical therapist.

“I enjoy serving and encouraging people, and I have a passion for fitness,” she said.

Haley Williams

Category: Academics

Education: Senior, Peninsula High School

GPA: 4.0

Parents: Dave and Debbie Williams

Activities/achievements: AP Scholar with Distinction; WIAA girls swimming Outstanding Scholastic Award; PHS swim team captain, Most Valuable, Spirit and Coach’s Choice awards; state qualifier; Tacoma Swim Club; DECA; Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader; Believers Fellowship mentor in training.

Favorite teacher: Patrick Gillis, math, “because of how much he cares about and invests in his students. He is a very talented teacher and makes class engaging and fun.”

Best thing about high school: Teachers. “I have had the privilege of being taught by some of the most talented, smart and genuinely caring people there are. They go the extra mile to invest their time in you.”

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