A: Yes, we all talked with him for about an hour on Christmas Eve. It was great. He left in September, so he won't see much of my senior year, but we talk all the time. Over the years, he has missed a lot of birthdays and holidays, but I am very proud of him, and he is getting close to retirement from the Navy. We can't wait. We're a very vivacious family, the kind, you know, that's loud and happy and everybody looks at in restaurants.
Q: How long have you been in Darrington and where did you move from?
A: We moved from San Diego when I was in sixth grade. Before the Stennis, my dad served aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln at Naval Station Everett. My parents both grew up in small towns in northern California, so they decided Darrington was a good fit for us. My older sister, Shante, stayed in California and I moved here with my parents and my three older brothers, Brian, Scott and Kyle.
Q: Was that a culture shock to move from San Diego to Darrington?
A: Oh, it was. You see the backpacks that sit out in front of our school lockers at Darrington? In big schools in California, you can't leave your stuff unlocked. But I love Darrington. We have a graduating class of 29. We're all friends. Extended family, really. We are able to joke with each other and have a great time.
Q: What are you planning to do next year?
A: Well, my mom, Kris, is going to miss me, but I am moving away. I'll go through another culture shock when I move to the Seattle area in August to attend the Art Institute of Seattle. My friend Shelby Jessen and I are getting an apartment together. She's going to cooking school. My goal is to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree in a three-year interior design program.
Q: How did you get interested in design?
A: I have always loved art, and am looking forward to my classes in art history, as well as studies in human habitat and color themes.
Q: You like history too?
A: It's one of my favorite subjects. My dad and I share our love of history. You know the saying, "If you don't know your history, it will come back to haunt you." Well, I believe that.
Q: What other classes do you enjoy?
A: My college-prep English class is my favorite. The students in that class really flourish. I love to read and write. We recently read "The Kite Runner." I love books that make you think, but I also indulge in the occasional page-turner such as Nicholas Sparks' "Safe Haven." I have flaws like any other students, but I do try my hardest, even in science and math. But those aren't my favorite subjects.
Q: What has been your main activity at school this year?
A: I'm the ASB president and the senior class president, but I also was captain of the cheerleading squad during the football season. Despite what some people think, cheerleading is a team sport. Not only that, but our cheer squad has been involved in a number of charitable efforts over the years, including raising money for the fight against ALS, lymphoma and breast cancer. Our coach, Holly Ross, has been great in helping us be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Q: Sports are really big in Darrington, aren't they?
A: My brothers wrestled, which was my dad's high school sport, too. I played softball for two years. And everybody comes out to the football and basketball games. It's great to have such a fan base. Multiple generations of families, all decked out in our school colors, green and gold. It's called Logger Pride. We are proud of our community. Otherwise, what is there?
Q: What else do you like to do?
A: We're a real outdoors family. We like hiking and fishing and exploring the National Forest. It's what you do in Darrington.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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