Senior Spotlight: Savannah Culbert | Innovation High School, Spokane

Jun 18, 2024 | Student Spotlights

Savannah’s mom is one of her biggest inspirations. “I was there for her graduation from Gonzaga – she always pushed herself to do the best for me and my brother. She would work and go to class. My mom was and is so important for my development as a person,” Savannah proudly shares.

Her community has included her grandma, who served as a nurse at Sacred Heart in Spokane for 45 years. “She just whole-heartedly loved the people that she worked with and cared for. I want to be just like that. My grandma was a matriarch and a strong woman.

Savannah Culbert

Finding Community At School

“Community is bigger than just schools. It’s everyone pushing you along the way, the family and friends making you want to be better,” Savannah says. Her community also included the people she met at Innovation – and Pride Prep before that –  the charter public schools she attended starting in the 7th Grade in Spokane. Savannah found teachers that “definitely helped with my ability to learn and grow,” she says. Whether it was Music, Math or English, Savannah found teachers that helped her better understand the curriculum, feel more confident and discuss feedback that helped assist in her growth.

“At Innovation you feel safe. You can build small communities at the school – like clubs in general and the Black Student Union. You have people you can rely on, people you feel most comfortable with. For example, helping making games for the school’s carnival. Or helping prepare food for kids at Thanksgiving – that’s an experience I won’t forget.”

That community was challenged during the pandemic. “I felt comfortable working from home. I set up a desk in my living room to help reduce distractions. But I didn’t do a lot outside of the classroom and felt isolated from others. It was weird being online. I felt disconnected.”

Advice for Incoming High School Freshman: Build Relationships, Explore

“Innovation has fantastic programs – music is something I’m passionate about and the program here helped me learn new instruments (guitar and piano). It was definitely an environment where I could push myself. The fashion program was also great at helping me learn new techniques like sewing and crochet that I can use in my everyday life.”

When thinking about how incoming high school freshman go start their journey at schools like Innovation, Savannah suggests that new freshman avoid putting too much pressure on themselves. “Grades can always improve. Your work ethic is very important and remember not to procrastinate. At least not too much.” She hopes that new students look for ways to volunteer for things and branch out. “It’s a way to experience new ideas and activities to help you figure out what you want to do, all while building relationships with your teachers.”

What Comes Next?

Savannah is excited to start at Washington State University in the Fall. Born and raised in Spokane, she thinks that living in Pullman will give her a chance to “grow and be independent. Their school community and staff all seem like they really take pride in what they are doing. I’m looking forward to finding myself more in college,” Savannah said. She plans on studying international business – “I’m good with numbers,” she says – with a focus on the music industry. But Savannah also enjoys sound design and music – especially in video games and movies.

We join Savannah’s teachers’, family, friends and broader community in applauding her achievements at Innovation and Pride Prep. We know that her teachers – from Mac (English) and Chris (Math) to Mrs. Rebecca (art) and Matt (Music) – are proud of her growth as a whole-hearted person ready for the next steps in her journey.