Milwaukie High School graduate Morgan Webster is making her dreams come true through hard work, a nothing-is-impossible attitude, and a drive to be successful that is second to none

Hard work, determination and a drive to succeed and make her dreams become a reality are paying huge dividends for Morgan Webster, who graduated from Milwaukie High School June 3.

Webster’s hard work in the classroom means that much of her college education at Willamette University will be paid for. And her passion for the sport of volleyball and countless hours of work on the hardcourt have gained her a spot on Willamette University’s NCAA Division III volleyball team.

Willamette has honored Webster, a 3.92 student at Milwaukie, with a four-year academic scholarship valued at $84,000.

The Milwaukie Rotary Foundation has added a four-year scholarship of $1,000 per year. Webster also received the Milwaukie Union High School Class of 1957 $2,000 scholarship; and a North Clackamas Education Foundation scholarship for $1,325.

And Webster has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Willamette, after receiving an invitation from Willamette coach Tom Shoji.

The chance to further her career in volleyball is a surprise to many, because Milwaukie has struggled in volleyball for years, and Webster got a late introduction to the sport. She didn’t start playing volleyball until her seventh grade year at Rowe Middle School and she’s only had two years of club volleyball experience.

“All that energy was one of the reasons I looked at her,” said Shoji. “Last summer she came to my summer camp, and I was very impressed. She just brings so much energy to the court, and she’s such a positive force. She’s a good teammate and also a very good player....

JAIME WEBSTER - Morgan Webster encourages classmates to be themselves and follow their dreams as she gives the welcoming address at Milwaukie High Schools commencement.“She will fill several roles for us — backup setter and backup defensive specialist. She’ll be a backup, but with her energy and enthusiasm for volleyball, her main contribution will be the spark she provides every time she sets foot on the court. She will definitely see playing time.”

Shoji says he sees Webster’s late introduction to the sport as a positive.

“In Morgan’s case, I see the late start as an advantage,” Shoji said. “I’ve had recruits that by the time they’re in college, they don’t want to play anymore. They’ve played so long, they don’t feel the next level is gong to be much fun. Morgan’s very enthusiastic about playing. She works hard, but you can tell she’s having a lot of fun too. She’s got a tremendous love for the sport, she’s enthusiastic, and she’s got skill....”

Webster has already gone to work in the volleyball program at Willamette. She’s there this week, helping out with the school’s youth and high school volleyball camps.

Asked why she has such a passion for the sport of volleyball, Websters says, “It’s one of those sports I can play every day and not get tired of it.... I like being in control; I’ve always enjoyed being a leader. When you’re the setter, it gives you the opportunity to put your leadership skills to work and be in control. And there’s the mental aspect of the game. It’s very strategic. You have to know who’s open and who’s doing what in a game....”

Webster credits two of the four head volleyball coaches she’s had in her four years at Milwaukie with helping her accomplish her dream of playing volleyball in college.

JAIME WEBSTER - Despite limited club experience, Milwaukies Morgan Webster has parlayed her love of the sport of volleyball to a spot on Willamette Universitys volleyball team.“[Former head coach] Amanda Wiedeman gave me the fundamentals for setting,” said Webster. “Basically she kick-started my drive to play in college. Amanda said, ‘If you want to play in college, you have to pick basketball or volleyball, one or the other.’ She got me involved in club and she got me going to volleyball camps.”

“[Current head coach] Heather Denison wrote a lot of recommendations for colleges and she coached me the way she said college coaches would coach me.”

JOHN DENNY - Morgan Webster has had a very busy four years at Milwaukie High School. In addition to playing volleyball, playing percussion instruments in the school band, and serving as class president, shes maintained a 3.92 GPA. Her dedication and hard work have gained her a four-year academic scholarship to Willamette University and a spot on the schools volleyball team. She plans a biology major, with a goal of becoming a genetics counselor.Webster played both basketball and volleyball her first two years in high school. But then she dropped basketball, so she could concentrate on volleyball.

Denison said of Webster: “She’s a natural leader, a dedicated and outstanding athlete, and a hard worker — with a positive attitude. She never gives up and plays her heart out until the last second. She was a mentor to the other girls on the team, and I’m really proud of her [for her many accomplishments].”

Webster has been a dynamo at Milwaukie. Besides playing volleyball and maintaining high academic standards, she’s been class president the last three years; and she’s been a percussionist in the school’s band and wind ensemble, playing the bells, triangle, tambourine, bass drum and snare drum. Webster has also been involved in Habitat For Humanity, which builds homes for people in need.

“It’s meant a lot of weekends studying, instead of going out and hanging out with friends,” Webster says. “It’s about setting you priorities, and time management.”

Webster says of her passion for playing percussion instruments: “With percussion, there’s so much variety. You don’t get bored because you’re playing the same instrument all the time. And you’re the heart-beat of the band. Without you, they don’t understand the rhythm. You’re in control. I like that.”

Webster says she has sought out involvement in student government throughout her four years at Milwaukie because of her love of being a leader.

“I like being involved in everything that goes on at Milwaukie [High School],” she says. “This [past school] year I helped plan prom, Milwaukie Cares week, Cancer awareness week, homecoming week, and winter formal.”

As senior class president, she gave the welcoming speech at graduation.

Webster played the snare drum for Milwaukie’s band at this year’s Rose Festival Starlight Parade, and the band won first place in the in-state A Division for the second year in a row. She’s also helped Milwaukie’s band earn fifth place at the OSAA Class 5A band competition in 2014, and again this spring.

At Milwaukie’s senior awards assembly, Webster received the Leslie Peake Award, which goes to the top male and female junior and senior student/athletes; she was the only female athlete to receive the “steelworker of the year” honor, an award that goes to Milwaukie High athletes for their dedication to weight and fitness training. And she was honored as a Milwaukie Academy of Arts Top 5 Allstar for her efforts in the classroom.

Webster plans a biology major at Willamette; she plans a career as a genetics counselor.

“My mom was artificially inseminated,” Webster says. “She couldn’t have had me without a sperm donor.

“Without genetics, I would not be here today. I find that fascinating!”

She says that after she graduates from Willamette she’ll likely pursue her master’s degree in genetic counseling at the University of Washington or Portland State University.

Webster says her message to her fellow students is: “Success is doing what you love. Be who you are and do what you want to do, no matter what. That’s success.”

“I’m elated and very excited to see Morgan going on to the next level with her academics and her volleyball,” said Morgan’s mother, Jaime Webster. “I’m hoping she will continue as a role model, encouraging younger Milwaukie High School women to pursue their dream, and to believe that it can be done. Anything is possible, if you work your butt off.”

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