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The high school's 57 graduates offered more than $7.5 million in scholarships

COURTESY PHOTO - Riverdale graduates at the ceremony held June 4.Riverdale High School's class of 2019 celebrated their accomplishments June 4 at Lewis and Clark College, as 57 seniors walked across the stage to collect their diplomas. The class of 2019 has a lot to celebrate — students received 212 acceptances to 113 colleges and programs in the United States and Canada, and were offered more than $7.5 million in scholarships.

Riverdale High School is a small public school located in the Portland metro area, near Lake Oswego. It is part of the Riverdale School District, which offers a kindergarten through twelfth grade education with the mission for "Students learn to use their minds well, engage creatively and act compassionately."

Prior to their graduation, seniors gathered at the school to say goodbye to peers and teachers, and declare which college they will attend. Students considered what education environment would be best for them: large or small, rural or urban, close to home or far away.

Graduate Olivia Phillips chose to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston due to her lifelong passion for singing and piano. "While there are hundreds of music programs within schools in the U.S., I wanted to be in a setting where music was the focus and priority," Phillips said. "In 2017, I spent five weeks of my summer studying at Berklee and performing rock, jazz, blues and world music. Since then, I knew I wanted to focus in on music as a career path."COURTESY PHOTO - Riverdale grads Emma Brendle and Sam Novack at the graduation ceremony.

Ben Banks will be attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. "I chose NYU because it had everything I wanted in a college. It gives me the opportunity to get conservatory-style training inside of a liberal arts college within a research university," Banks said. "Every day I get to be challenged, whether it is in my required acting classes or in a math class I want to take. I am the sort of person that thrives in higher-pressure areas, and NYU definitely seems like it will give me that."

Graduate Sam Goldberg said he chose Columbia College Chicago because it will allow him to gain real world experience. "As a student in the comedy-writing program, I won't be spending much time in a classroom listening to lectures about how to write comedy. I'll be out in Chicago, working with actual professionals in the industry, like screenwriters, standup comics and producers," Goldberg said. "Most faculty has a real history in their field, and are able to help students network effectively. As someone who struggles in more traditional academic settings, a school pretty much entirely based around 'learning by doing' is the best fit for me."

While all Riverdale graduates are accomplished scholars, Abigail Millender earned the title of Valedictorian. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA, took four college classes during her senior year and had a research paper accepted at the Young Historians Conference at Portland State University that was published online.

Millender plans to attend Emory University in Atlanta where she will major in economics and minor in music and biology. She then plans to pursue a career in public health.COURTESY PHOTO - Riverdale grads Gavin Bohling, Roland Pitts and Eleazar Birke.

Additionally, Millender played competitive piano for 13 years and won over 20 Oregon Music Teachers Association Competitions (OMTA). She completed the OMTA annual syllabus in 2015 and the Extended Study of Musicianship and Repertoire in 2018.

At Riverdale, Millender was a member of the varsity mock trial team, a Model United Nations ambassador, and the president of the Jewish Student Union. She has served on the board of the Oregon Jewish Youth Community Foundation, a youth philanthropy program, for four years, and on the leadership council for two.

Millender is also a volunteer captain at the Casey Eye Institute Outreach Program mobile eye clinic where she has provided free care to underserved communities, and interned at the Woods Laboratory at Portland State University and OHSU conducting bio-chemistry experiments on a species of annual killi fish.

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