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The Portrait in Action

The 2019 Headmaster Award recipients each exemplify the characteristics identified in the Portrait of a Tarrier

The Sam and Nathalie Brown Award was implemented by the Board of Trustees to honor the people most responsible for the founding of this school. Presented to seniors who, like Sam and Nathalie Brown, are people of distinction, honor, and wit.


Heidi Xu is creative and quirky with a piercing intellect and an insatiable curiosity. As likely to ponder big philosophical questions as she is to marvel at minutiae, she sees the world a bit differently and notices details that many don’t take the time to consider. This makes her an exceptional student and also a clever stand-up comic, as we saw at last year’s talent show. The sheer joy with which she approaches any opportunity to learn and her sunny demeanor make her intelligence playful rather than intimidating. Her research for National History Day has earned top awards nationally, and she’s so passionate about it that she mentors other students pursuing NHD. Versatile in her academic interests and talents, her successful senior art show was “zestfully creative,” as described by her art teacher. Her remarkable ability to retain the information learned from her studies, both in and out of school, also made her a key competitor on our Knowledge Bowl team.

Ryan Quisenberry: COLLABORATOR

“His energy brings a spark that has a positive effect on everyone around him,” said one teacher about Ryan Quisenberry. This is true both inside the classroom and in the numerous activities to which this dynamic young man devotes his time. With his optimistic spirit and genuine compassion, he provides a model of fine leadership for his peers to follow, leading and inspiring others without seeking attention or accolades, and making everyone in our community feel included and valued. In his role as student body vice president, he brought his special brand of humor to assemblies and showed off the eloquent speaking skills he’s honed through activities such as Model United Nations.

The Bradshaw Award is presented to the senior who best exemplifies intellectual curiosity, independent thinking, and a passion for learning. 

Jack Corddry: THINKER

Jack Corddry is a restless thinker, possessed by an impatient curiosity and driven by what he describes as “my desire to truly understand everything put in front of me.” His curiosity is indiscriminate; nothing is uninteresting, everything sparks his inquisitiveness. While he is a serious student, he also brings a sense of humor and wide-eyed joy to the classroom, and his enthusiasm inspires his fellow students. He moves fast, intellectually, yet he also dives deep, taking the necessary time to wrestle with a poem, revise an essay, or tackle a yearlong independent project in computer science. His ninth grade biology teacher described him perfectly: “If biology was a beanstalk, Jack would be the first to the top, dashing his way through puzzles and obstacles.”   

The Haertl Award is presented to the senior who has demonstrated significant growth through hard work, accountability, resilience, perseverance, and self-reliance.

Quinn McElvain: INNOVATOR

Energetic, expressive, and articulate, Quinn McElvain has managed to dramatically improve his academic achievement through mature introspection, deliberate effort, and hard work. His transcript tells the story: The young man who finished ninth grade with a lackluster record was a different person than the focused, determined, resourceful student who earned an impressive 4.0 GPA in a challenging program senior year. His chemistry teacher called his turnaround in that class “extraordinarily rare” and “a fabulous trajectory of achievement.” This year, his science research project on preventing the formation of hail highlighted his dedication to scholarship, his self-directed approach to learning, and his intellectual curiosity.   

The Havens Award is presented to the senior who encourages the talents of others and enthusiastically supports the life of the school.


If you popped into a classroom just long enough to get a glimpse of Cade Cochran, you might think this student standing on a desk, playing the air guitar, and making everyone laugh was the class clown. However, if you stayed a little longer you’d see that this charismatic kid with the big personality is a top student and a classroom leader. He purposefully works to help his peers do their best and celebrates and supports them as they do. As a Green Mentor he’s helped ninth graders learn what they need to do to succeed in the Upper School. As a leader in student government he’s helped people with diverging goals and agendas find common ground. If you talk to ninth graders on the football team and ask them who they admire as a role model, he’s the one. The jazz ensemble teacher said, “his energy and support are essential to the group’s success.” He makes every group better by his presence and his joyful engagement.

The Sanford Award is presented to the senior who best exemplifies the qualities we value
in a Charles Wright student: excellence, compassion, integrity, respect, perseverance.

Elizabeth (Tin-Tin) Lee: EXPLORER

Every day, Tin-Tin Lee brings curiosity, perseverance, and a healthy dose of joy to everything
she does. In the classroom she not only excels, she also nudges her classmates along with flair and intelligence, helping them become more successful. Her note-taking and organization are legendary. Her calm, welcoming, can-do attitude led her peers at Democracy Camp in Lithuania to designate her as both the friendliest and the most effective participant in the group. She seeks to understand different perspectives and works diligently and empathetically to find connections and build bridges. Her election by the student body as chair of the Honor Board shows that her peers have the same high regard for her as the faculty does. In that role she acted with consistent compassion, maturity, and insight as she balanced community standards and the needs of individual students. Volleyball, robotics, and more; this student does so much, and in all of it she epitomizes the qualities we encourage our students to develop: self-reliance, integrity, social responsibility, and humor.

The Minnerly Award is presented to the senior who exemplifies social responsibility through fairness, compassionate service, and consideration for peers, community and the environment

Jade Cooper: STEWARD

Social responsibility and compassionate service are hallmarks of Jade Cooper’s involvement, both here at Charles Wright and in community organizations. As a member, and this year a co-leader, of the Black Student Affinity Group, she has helped lead the entire Upper School community in our efforts to be more inclusive, aware, and welcoming to all students. As a Green Mentor, she set the gold standard for supporting younger students and helping them become Upper School Tarriers. Beyond Charles Wright, she’s on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Board, the Peace Project Board, and she has been the chair of the youth summit at the Race and Pedagogy Conference at the University of Puget Sound. Her efforts to raise awareness and bring about positive change are marked by humility, grace, and poise; she consistently acts with respectful consideration of other perspectives and experiences.

The Camner Award is presented to the senior who, as a reflective and courageous leader, seeks to understand various perspectives and empowers others to work toward positive change. 

Maria Gonzalez: STEWARD

Maria Gonzalez has already had an impact on both the Charles Wright community and the broader world. She combines an academic interest in the condition and experience of immigrants, particularly women, with a commitment to raising awareness of social issues and to bringing about change. Whether she’s representing Charles Wright Academy at a student diversity leadership seminar, serving as a delegate from her church to the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, or traveling to New York City to address the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, this student is a difference maker. She wrote, “I am proud of my involvement at the UN because I was able to use my passion for social justice and tell my story in order to advocate for justice, equality, and love in this world.” //

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