Top three Cougar grads set to roar into bright futures

Skye Kinkade
Weed High School valedictorians Jonathan Pfleger, Justin Robles and salutatorian Alissa Chilson will speak at their graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 6, starting at 7 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.

All three of Weed High School’s top students have lived in Weed their entire lives and say being from a small, tight knit community has definite advantages.

Jonathan Pfleger and Justin Robles will serve as valedictorians at graduation on Thursday, June 6, which begins at 7 p.m. in the WHS gymnasium.

Alissa Chilson has been named salutatorian.

The three students have grade point averages well above the 4.0 mark, a feat they accomplished by taking college courses throughout their high school careers.

In addition, Robles, Pfleger and Chilson have participated in an avalanche of extracurricular activities and sports over the past four years at WHS.

Pfleger said being from such a small community like Weed helped him learn people skills because he got to know his fellow students and teachers.

“It’s not a big school, where you just pass people by. Here, you know everyone’s name,” Pfleger said.

Chilson agreed. Attending WHS gave her the opportunity to have smaller classes and more one on one instruction, with the ability to connect personally with her teachers.

The students also agreed that it’s important to make the most of high school years.

“Don’t overdo it,” Chilson advised younger students who may be hoping to follow in her footsteps. “Four years go fast, and the memories you wish you’d made will haunt you.”

“Have fun with everything you do,” Pfleger added. “Go to class and make it fun.”

Jonathan Pfleger

Pfleger is the son of Daniel and Lea Pfleger. He plans to join the Air Force after graduation and attend San Diego State University in the ROTC program where he’ll study civil engineering and electrical engineering.

He said his family motivates him to do well in school. He will be the first in his family to attend a university and earn a college degree.

“My parents have given so much to me and I want to make them proud,” Pfleger said. He added that given the current state of the world, “we need more leaders, and I hope to contribute to the greater good.”

Pfleger has played soccer all four years of high school and earned All League every year for goalkeeping. He played baseball for three years and got All League Honorable Mention twice. He was the class president for three years and vice president of his freshman class. He participated in Athletes Committed and Link Crew, as well as Ski Team and track, where he made it to sections for the shotput.

Justin Robles

Robles, the son of Sandy Yandell and Danny Robles, plans to attend College of the Siskiyous next year to get his AA in math. After that, he wants to transfer to a four year university and eventually be a math professor.

Being a student at a small school like WHS “helped keep me humble,” said Robles. He said it taught him that the big things aren’t always as important as the smaller details.

Robles played soccer all four years of high school and received All League Honorable Mention twice. He played baseball his freshman and sophomore years and was the class president his freshman year.

Robles said his family is his main motivation to do well.

“Seeing how happy they were when I’d bring something home from school that I did well on encouraged me to keep it up,” he said.

Alissa Chilson

Chilson will attend Cal Baptist University in Riverside next year, where she plans to study early childhood education. Though she’s not sure of the specifics, Alissa said she would like a career working with children.

Alissa is the daughter of Dustie Toms and Gerald Chilson.

Chilson said she has always known that she wanted to attend a four-year school. Getting good grades “just comes naturally,” she said. She focused on taking college courses and keeping her GPA high because she knew she’d need scholarships.

She was successful on that front – Chilson was one of 11 Siskiyou County students to land the prestigious Ford Family Scholarship.

Chilson played volleyball for three years and basketball her sophomore year. She participated in Link Crew, Skills USA and Key Club, where she’s been the treasurer for two years. She also served as president of Cougar Crazy. She’s the Associated Student Body Vice President and was the class treasurer last year. She also participated in yearbook.