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St. George’s School graduate gives travel, academics focused attention

It has been through his experiences with robotics and the great outdoors that St. George’s School’s Kyle Luiten, 18, has learned a lot about the world and its cultures – and about himself. As a member of his school’s robotics team, he’s worked with peers in designing, building and competing with the robots they created.

Competing locally and at state, his team went to the world competition, held this year in Houston, where they allied with other teams and won their division. He’d been to world competition twice before but never finished so high in the ranking. “It was a sweet ending,” he said.

With his club – along with high school clubs from Las Vegas, Iowa and New York City – he also traveled a few times to China in an effort to help the Chinese develop robotic teams for students there, with the number growing from three to 60 teams now in Shenzhou. He was impressed by the traffic in the city, but after riding a bicycle through it, he discovered that it was really efficient. He always felt safe and noted that vehicles were always moving. “I noticed that if you crossed a street, it was important not to change your pace, as everybody adjusted to your pace and worked around it.

There was a harmony to the process.” Also active in St. George’s Outdoor Club, he has spent a great deal of time on backpacking, canoeing and kayaking trips.

This past year they summited Mount St. Helens and were far up Mount Adams on summer solstice day when a snowstorm turned them back from the summit. A favorite trip was to the Grand Gulch Primitive Area in Utah, where they ascended the canyon walls to where the ancient Anasazi civilizations had created living areas in eroded sections – most efficiently sunny in the winter and shady in the summer. “We were caught in a rainstorm and crawled under a ledge,” Luiten said. “It felt like the experience that must have been had at the same spot a thousand or more years ago.”

He is also involved in Math is Cool competition, placing 12th in calculus at state-level competition. He bicycles most places (except in the snow), including the 15 miles daily to school, and he is on the school’s cross country team, which placed third at the 2016 State 2B Championships. Luiten used to ski race on the Mt.

Spokane Ski Team but gave it up as a freshman because he was too busy with other activities. One of those activities is participating with friends and the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club in cleaning up the shoreline of both the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers. On the Little Spokane, they work from St.

George’s to the confluence with the Spokane River, something he’s been doing since fifth grade. They have found toilets, doors, golf balls, garbage cans, traffic cones and more. And shoes. “With the muddy bottom, there are a lot of shoes that get stuck in the mud.

We’ve got a competition to see who can find a matching pair.” And usually there’s a milkshake reward for the person who hauls out the most debris. “I think we’ve maybe taken out 1,000 pounds over five years,” he said. Luiten will attend the University of Washington this fall, majoring in engineering.

Meantime, and probably ever after, he said he tries to get the most out of whatever he does, tries to be mindful of others and tries to help others do things, too.

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