Noah Markstrom’s legacy lives on: Centralia elementary school student honored with namesake award


Fords Prairie Elementary School’s gymnasium was filled with boisterous laughter, clapping and a rendition of “Rainbow Connection” on Friday, June 14, during an end-of-the-year ceremony where the Noah Markstrom Award was given to Baylee Henderson, a student at the school.

The annual award, which was handed out for a fifth straight year, goes to the Tiny Tiger who best exemplifies the traits of Noah Markstrom, a former Fords Prairie student who was best known for perseverance, courage, positivity, kindness and joyfulness.

Noah Markstrom died at age 6 from brain cancer in November 2019.

Noah’s family subsequently founded the nonprofit Noah Jon Markstrom Foundation.

“The foundation’s mission is to raise funds for scholarships for those pursuing pediatric medicine,” Kyle Markstrom said. 

The foundation continues to grow. The Markstroms hope they will eventually be able to help someone pay for the entirety of their medical schooling.

Noah battled brain cancer for two years before his death in 2019.

There were 14 nominees for the award this year. Noah’s parents, Kyle and Kara Markstrom, picked the winner.

The annual assembly is the Markstrom family’s way of staying tied to the community that supported them throughout Noah’s treatment.

Dorinda Iverson, Noah’s kindergarten teacher, had a stuffed monkey in her classroom that would sit in Noah’s seat while he was receiving treatment. The monkey still remains in her classroom in memory of Noah.

“Noah’s Buddy Bench” also remains on the playground in his memory. His own handwriting and drawings were incorporated.

During the assembly, Principal David Roberts brought up the “Buddy Bench,” asking how many of the students use it. Dozens of little hands shot up excitedly. Roberts said he sits on it as well, almost every day.

“Every school needs a buddy bench,” said Deb Parnham, Noah’s grandmother and a member of the Centralia School Board.

Iverson announced all the nominees for the Noah Markstrom Award before declaring Baylee the winner. Baylee hugged her brother on her way up to the front of the audience. She took pictures with the Markstrom family.

“She’s one of those kids that lights up the room,” said Lindsay Bullock, Baylee’s teacher. “Everyone wants to be her friend and sit by her. There’s nobody like her.”

At the assembly, Roberts also gave out awards for perfect attendance, most improved readers, most improved mathematicians, excellence in writing, kindness, i-Ready and positive Tiny Tigers.

Kids who passed recent testing got to throw pie into the face of their teacher, Katie Ingles. Principal’s Choice Awards were given to five students, who won a lunch with Roberts.

Chad Martin and Dustin Wagner from Lincoln Creek Lumber provided bikes for students who won Exceptional Behavior Awards.

As for Baylee, the winner of this year’s Noah Markstrom Award, she will also be rewarded with a sleepover at the school with her friends, teacher and mother over the summer.

For more information on the Noah Jon Markstrom Foundation, visit