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Super Kid's next step is nursing school

Rachel Rich, 17, Stanwood High School, Skagit Valley College

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By Gale Fiege
Herald Writer
Q: So you graduated this month from Stanwood High School and Skagit Valley College?
A: Yes, Running Start was great. All my classes this year were at the community college, but I played my senior season of tennis at Stanwood.
Q: We hear you are one of fewer than 100 students accepted into the top-rated University of Washington School of Nursing for the fall. You'll be one of the youngest incoming students in that program, right?
A: Yes. I think other 17-year-olds have been accepted at the school, but I am in the minority for sure. I am used to be the youngest at school, so it's OK.
Q: Are you excited? And how long is the program at the nursing school?
A: Yes, the UW is my dream school. Nursing is a two-year program with a lot of clinical work.
Q: Will you live in a dorm on campus?
A: Yes, at least for the first year. That's good. That way, I can get to know other people my age.
Q: What area of nursing do you hope to pursue?
A: At first I thought I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse, but now I want to be a flight nurse with an outfit such as Airlift Northwest.
Q: What does that involve?
A: I will have emergency room and trauma training and flight training. Flight nurses keep people alive while the team flies the patient to an emergency room.
Q: Sounds stressful.
A: But also exciting and unpredictable. My dad is an Everett fireman and I have ridden along with him. I also volunteered at Cascade Valley Hospital and did a job shadow with a nurse practitioner at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. There's a lot of satisfaction that comes with helping people.
Q: Why did you chose Running Start?
A: I know what I want to do and I just don't want to waste any time or have other people wasting my time. Skagit Valley College was a perfect fit for me. I have no regrets.
Q: What did you study at the college?
A: Lots of science. I had four biology classes, two chemistry classes and others. Prerequisites.
Q: Who are some of the teachers at Stanwood who you will remember?
A: George Colby, who was my FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) adviser, and Kathy Redfern, who I had for AP calculus in my sophomore year.
Q: Advanced placement calculus when you were just a sophomore?
A: Yeah, I took a bunch of algebra and geometry at Port Susan Middle School.
Q: You played tennis all four years at Stanwood?
A: Yes, and I lettered when I was a freshman. This year my doubles partner and I got to state. I really appreciated my coaches, the late Ron Shanander, Trudy Abrams and Liz Currey.
Q: I understand you also have a job at Warm Beach Senior Community?
A: I had to get 100 hours of health care experience. Warm Beach is just a few minutes from my parents' house. After awhile, they offered me an assistant job and I worked 15 hours a week. Lately, it's been just on Sundays.
Q: Are the folks at the center going to miss you?
A: Well, I know they are excited for me.
Q: I bet your parents and siblings are excited for you, too.
A: I appreciate all of the opportunities that my mom and dad have given me. If not for the two of them, I would be nowhere near where I am today and I owe a lot to them.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427;
Story tags » StanwoodWarm BeachStanwood High School

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