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A soon-to-be Easton High School graduate has plans to develop a career that is rooted in her passions developed during her rural upbringing.

Carlee Houle, this year’s Easton valedictorian will begin in the Veterinary Technology program at Yakima Valley College this fall. Besides holding down a 3.46 GPA at Easton and being a member of the National Honor Society for all four years of high school, Houle also has completed 45 credits at Central Washington University as part of the Running Start program, earning a 3.56 GPA in that regard. While at Easton, Houle was a member of the archery team for four years and was a state varsity volleyball champion.

Outside of school, Houle has spent time working on her family’s hay farm in the Teanaway area and has served as a camp counselor at Camp Wahoo teaching horsemanship skills to children. In her free time, she enjoys riding snowmobiles and quads, spending time with her 5-year old quarter horse named Cruz and going hunting.

One of the requirements for Houle’s program at YVC is to put in volunteer time at a veterinary clinic prior to enrollment. Although the base requirement is 50 hours, Houle has already logged approximately 100 hours of volunteer time at Valley Veterinary Clinic in Ellensburg.

“I just kind of kept with it,” she said. “I loved it. I like learning new things about animals and taking care of them. I’ve done a lot of observations during surgeries and things like that. I’ve helped with horse exams at the horse farm. That’s pretty epic for me. I really like horses.”

Having grown up on a horse farm, it came naturally for Houle to enjoy working with animals. She said having the chance to work there and at her family’s hay farm had a direct impact on her work ethic, as well as help shape her decision to enroll in the Veterinary Technology program.

“I connected with animals working on the farm and helping animals around here,” she said. “I knew the vet and would help them out, so I kind of chose the path.”


Houle attended Easton schools beginning in preschool. She said growing up in a small town had its ups and downs.

“Mostly ups,” she said. “Just knowing everybody. If you need help with something, you always know the person to find.”

Houle said one of the challenges of small-town living is the growing pains related to social development.

“You hang out with the same people,” she said. “If there’s drama here and there, oh well. Who do you hang out with? There’s no one else there. Growing up in a town that small, there’s limited options for different things.”

From an academic perspective, Houle said the low student-to-teacher ratio made growth and development much more attainable in Easton, something she found highly beneficial.

“There’s small class sizes,” she said. “If you need help with something, you can just ask. There aren’t 30 kids in a class where you’re fighting over who needs the most help from the teacher. You raise your hand and there you are.”

Houle said she will decide at some point whether she wants to take the path to becoming a veterinarian, but for now the technology program at YVC works for her. She plans on visiting the campus for the first time this summer.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” she said. “Just to see what’s really down there and what it’s like.”

Excitement aside, Houle admitted she is slightly nervous about the move.

“Just being away from home,” she said. “I grew up at home with my parents. My friends used to come over here and we’d play around with the horses. Being away from home will be the hardest on me, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.”

Despite the anxiety, Houle said she has ventured away from Easton on her own for brief periods and has enjoyed the experience. She said those experiences have helped her prepare for the next step in her life.

“I look back on Easton and I enjoyed my time in Easton, but I’m ready to spread my wings and go,” she said. “I’m ready to move on to the next step.”


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