A: Lots of girls were in Stanwood's ag-mechanics program before me, so I've never really thought about being a leader. But I do agree that some girls have the attention to detail that most boys don't, and that's a plus when you are welding. Some guys get cocky in the shop. I just ignore them.
Q: You completed about four quarters in the Running Start program at Skagit Valley College. What's next?
A: Because I was so involved at my high school, taking college classes made it tough to finish there. So I plan to work for about six months -- at the grocery on Camano Island and I might pick up some welding jobs -- to earn money and then return to Skagit to finish my associate's degree. After that I might apply to Washington State University, though it's pretty expensive there now, or go to Seattle's Divers Institute of Technology, where I would learn how to do underwater welding. My mom says it sounds dangerous.
Q: But diving could be a fun thing for a swimmer such as yourself, right?
A: Yes, and I love to swim. I swam butterfly for our school swim team, which I was on all four years. This past year was difficult because we had to ride the bus each day all the way down to the Marysville YMCA. Our coach made us do homework during the drive, so that was good. I was exhausted the entire season.
Q: What is your favorite welding project from school?
A. The gate I made for my parents' driveway on north Camano Island. It's about 6 feet high and 15 feet across. It was so heavy, I had to get about six guys to help me move it around. My uncle helped me finish the curved top of the gate.
Q: Are you a country music fan? That seems to be what's playing in Mr. Main's metal shop most of the time.
A. Yeah, I wasn't at first. I thought it was stupid. But my brother Curtis told me to look around and realize where I live. It's country all right.
Q: What were some of your other activities at Stanwood High School?
A: I was an FFA officer, an Ag-Mech officer and an American Welders Society officer. I also helped out with our popular community welding class. It raised money for us to send teams to competition, and it gave us community service hours. The agriculture mechanics-natural resources program at Stanwood is one of the best.
Q: How about other memories from the past four years?
A: I loved my EF Educational Tours trip to England between my junior and senior years. It was a really cool experience, and it certainly makes me want to travel to other places. Maybe someday.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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