Former students find success in the ‘real world’

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Brittney Empson
Roberto Cortes

   The people you pass in these halls may be something you could have never imagined. Some recent graduates have made the most of their opportunity for success. Some examples of these students are Katy Bentz, an actress in Los Angeles, Matthew Luttrell, a math teacher here at our school, Matt Olsen, a teacher of English to children in Japan, and Jeff Chambers, a successful composer.

2010 graduate Katy Bentz. Photo courtesy of Bentz.

   Katy Bentz, 2010. is actively pursuing a career as an actress in Los Angeles. She has had several exciting opportunities in the year that she has lived there. Most recently, she voiced the Dungeon and Dragons Master Steph Gingrich in the video game “Life is Strange: Before the Storm.”
To supplement her acting career, Bentz does freelance video and photography work on the side. Some day she wants to live solely on her acting career but for now she is working on getting to where she wants to be.
Bentz’ lifelong dream was to move to L.A. and be an actress, but sometimes she still doesn’t know what to expect. “It’s been such a wonderful experience here in LA and I am excited to see what’s next on this journey!” she said. About her experience so far, Bentz said, “It has exceeded my expectations, and I am so grateful for it all!”
At Kamiakin Bentz was involved in the drama class which was her first dip into acting. Drama gave her the ability to be around people like her who had the same interest. This allowed her to be herself. She studied theatre performance at Western Washington University, where she continued to dig deeper into the acting world.

Matthew Luttrell graduate of 2007

Matthew Luttrell, a math teacher here at Kamiakin High School, graduated in 2007. Luttrell went to college at Whitworth University. This wasn’t  Luttrell’s first choice to become a teacher. He first wanted to be something within the psychology field. The reason Luttrell came back to Kamiakin was because after graduating, he wanted a job. He applied for many schools, and Kamiakin was the school that offered him a job.
If Luttrell could have any other career, it would be a baker because he likes making things from scratch. Baking for him is a stress reliever. Some things he likes to make are cakes, pies and cookies. If he could be a teacher anywhere, it would be in Spokane because he likes the area and would like to teach somewhere where he and his family want to end up.

2008 Graduate Jeffrey Chambers. Photo courtesy of Chambers.


Jeff Chambers, a graduate from Kamiakin in 2008, began composing when he was a sophomore in high school. His older brother gave him a program which he began messing around with. He realized his talent while using the computer program he was given. He then began writing small pieces of music and also started bringing in some of these projects to the Kamiakin band instructor. This eventually led to Chambers composing an entire marching band show.

   Chambers said, “Mr. Russell had a huge role in making that show happen, but he will never take any of the credit.”

   At this point, Chambers is still composing music for marching bands. People hire him to do that, and as a result, he has over 50 shows on his personal website. Many of his pieces are published with a company out of Florida. Additionally, he has about 90 pep band arrangements available which are basically renditions of popular songs on the radio.
Chambers also writes music for the world of film and media. He won the award “Best Original Score” for a film he put in the festival located in Seattle last year. His music is national. Many people from every state as well as clients around the world access his music.
During Chambers’free time, he enjoys turning on ESPN to watch college football. One of his dreams someday is to turn a television on and hear his music playing in the background during the movie. He is a self-employed composer. His brother helped him set up a brand called “Jeff Chambers Music.”
For college Chambers attended the University of Idaho where he studied music education and composition.  

Matt Olsen graduate of 2007

Matt Olsen, a student that graduated in 2007, was a student in the journalism class at both Kamiakin and Eastern Washington University. During his time at Eastern, he befriended some students who were a part of the Asia University America Program (AUAP). He started to help these students in their classes as a teaching assistant. He enjoyed the time with this program so much that he wanted to teach in Japan after he graduated college. When Olsen arrived in Japan, he had the chance to teach English at elementary and junior high school levels.

   Olsen’s advice after getting to where he is now is “Be open to do anything. Life will take you many places.” Olsen did not know that he was going to be doing what he is doing now 10 years ago when he first graduated from Kamiakin, but he is happy where he has ended up.  

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