Super Kid: Spencer Newland, Everett High School
A: I'm the ASB (Associated Student Body) president here at Everett High, I was the ASB secretary last year. I work with Cocoon House, I'm on their board of directors. It's a teen shelter for teens in need in Snohomish County. They offer counseling and help with jobs, and they also have shelters where kids can stay if they have intense issues.
I first got in contact with them because I was the chairman of the Battle of the Bands (fundraising event) last year. The theme was "Gimme Shelter," and we raised $5,000 and we gave it to them and that's how I began my dialogue.
I work with Camp Prov, which is a Providence (Regional Medical Center Everett) special-needs camp in the summer. I've done that since eighth grade, it's a lot of fun.
I recently started as an intern at President Obama's campaign. I do a lot of phone calls, phone banking, setting up schedules with people who want to volunteer. I do a lot of data entry on the computer. It's not as glamorous as I thought it would be, but it's important. It all starts in the base of people.
Q: Do you have political aspirations?
A: Yeah, I'm kind of a political nut. When I get home I watch Chris Matthews, I watch CNN. I'm going to school in Washington, D.C. I got accepted to George Washington University. I want to study political science so I figured the best place to go is D.C. I thought about getting a law degree for a while, but it's up in the air right now because I do want to do something with people, maybe in office. We'll have to see where I land, but it's definitely on my radar.
Q. You have a 3.92 GPA. What are your favorite subjects?
A. I really like English, I'm not very much of a math person or science, but my favorite subject has always been history. And I'm in fourth-level French right now. Foreign language is something that's really interesting to me. I've also thought about an international affairs path in college so I could continue with my languages. I'm more a humanities guy than I am math and science.
I have been named a departmental scholar on four occasions: one for English, one for social studies, one for foreign language and one for CTE (Career/Technical Education) business education. I was also named World Language Department Scholar of the Year.
Q: Tell me about a teacher who's been a positive influence.
A: Mrs. (Casey) Chaffee. She's not only our leadership teacher, she's our ASB advisor, so I've gotten to know her over the past two positions I've held. She's taught us that it's about serving others, it's not about yourself. To be a good leader you serve the people who elect you rather than look out for your own interests, which is a message I think a lot of people need to hear.
It's inspired me a lot, she just pushes you. If you can't do something, well, that's not an option. She knows you can, it's just harder, and it's not always easy, and that's how life is. So it's not only classroom lessons, it's life lessons."
Q: What do you do in the leadership class?
A: Most of our things center around community events. The Battle of the Bands, our blood drives, our food drives, we coordinate those, and we include the rest of the school. It's good because you learn how to plan, you learn how to manage finances, and you also learn lessons in leadership and how it relates to the world.
It's an elective and you have to apply to get in. It's a rigorous process to get in.
Q: Tell me about some of your other activities and awards.
A: I'm on the tennis team, I was on the swim team for two years, I was sophomore class vice president for a year.
I was vice president of the Debate Club my sophomore year and president last year. I have a great passion for debate. I love to see how riled up people get in the middle of a debate, and I think that discussing important issues is a key component to our democratic process. I firmly believe that without discussion and exchange of different viewpoints, we, as a country, will get nowhere.
I have been in Torch Honor Society since my junior year. It is a fantastic club that does a lot of great things for our school and community. The most notable event we plan is a dance we put on for the special needs students at our school. It's a lot of work to plan and execute, but it is worth every minute of work when you see how much fun the students have.
I have been a member of the Mayor's Youth Council for three years, and it has been an enlightening experience. I have learned so much about how our city works and how to reach out to people my age. Every year, we put on a leadership conference and it is really awesome to see so many young leaders in one place. It gives me hope for the future.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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