Meet Kris Larson, Distinguished Grad, OHS

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Kris Larson, Distinguished Grad, Olympia High School Class of 1984
Kris Larson in her fire fighter gearKris Larson is somewhat of a legend at Olympia High School. A 1984 graduate, folks still recall Larson as the best female athlete to ever walk the halls of OHS -- which is quite impressive considering the school opened in 1882.

During her time at OHS, Larson accomplished the rare feat of earning nine varsity letters in four different sports. She played girl's basketball, swimming, track and field, and soccer. She earned three track state championships in the shot put, discus and javelin and still holds the school record in shot put (45'2 1/2") and javelin (152'6"). Her athletic skill earned her a full scholarship to UCLA, where she is still one of the top 10 throwers of all time.

After college, Larson took that strength and discipline and used it to become a firefighter for the Los Angeles Fire Department, where she quickly rose to the top of the ranks. Today, Larson is a battalion chief. She is the first African American female to be promoted to Captain I, Captain II and Battalion Chief in the LAFD history.

Teachers and coaches at OHS aren’t surprised to hear of Larson’s career success. “She is the best female athlete that ever attended Olympia High School,” said former track coach John Amidon. “She is incredible.”

Larson said that her success today is largely due to time management skills from being a scholar-athlete, a strong work ethic inherited from her parents and grandparents, and a family that supported her career choice.

Larson is also part of a program called Camp Blaze, a two-day camp that brings in young females interested in becoming firefighters. The camp provides skills and training so participants can see what it takes to become a firefighter. Larson donates her time and uses vacation time to be a part of this.

Anyone interested in becoming a firefighter could benefit from athletics in high school, Larson said. “Being an athlete is the perfect lead into being a firefighter,” she said. “All the hard training translates to training in the fire service.”

But regardless of what career path you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy, Larson said. “Find out what you love to do and make that your work,” she said. “This way you will always feel passionate about your work.”

Distinguished Grads is a new series profiling graduates from our schools who model achievement in careers, hobbies or unique pursuits. If you know someone who should be considered for a profile, please email communications@osd.wednet.edu. Please include contact information for the graduate.