Super Kid: Ariel Jensen, 17, Lakewood High School

Q: How long have you attended Lakewood schools?

A: I’m a Lakewood Lifer, as we say here. Kindergarten and all 12 grades. I love our school. We have about 200 students in our senior class and we’re all friends.

Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?

A: Well, I look like my Norwegian heritage with blond hair and blue eyes, but I also am part Potawatomi Indian.

Q: Your principal, Dale Leach, said you missed a semester of your sophomore year. What happened?

A: I was running cross-country and was working hard, but I was so tired. My times were way off what I had achieved as a freshman. Five minutes slower. My coach Jeff Sowards urged me to get my blood checked.

Q: What happened?

A: Within 24 hours I was in Seattle Children’s Hospital. My platelets and red and white blood cell counts were low. I was checked for leukemia, but it turned out not to be cancer. I have a rare form of anemia, idiopathic aplastic anemia. Idiopathic means the doctors don’t know what causes it. I still have to get blood checks every two weeks to make sure I am OK.

Q: A friend who was a senior that year started a bone marrow drive for you?

A: Yes, Channie Dondrea got 47 people signed up for the bone marrow transplant list. Then we decided not to go the route of a transplant and opted for drug therapy instead. I was in the hospital for a while and couldn’t get back to school that semester.

Q: Did you fall behind?

A: Yes, and I still am catching up on my classes, but thanks to Mr. Leach it looks as if I am on track to graduate in June. I also have been attending Everett Community College this year.

Q: Is that a heavy load?

A: Yes. At times it’s overwhelming, but I know I will get through it. This quarter I have calculus and physics here at school, and then I drive to Everett for my global studies class. The rest of the day is spent working to catch up on world history and biology. I am an honor society member, but I don’t have time right now to do any reading for pleasure or any hobbies.

Q: How is it at the community college?

A: It’s OK. My brother Avery is there, as is our friend and former Lakewood exchange student Matt Horseman. Matt lives with my family. He’s from southern China. It’s great having him and his English is really improving.

Q: What music do you like?

A: Taylor Swift. With her new album “Red” she is redefining country music.

Q: Do you like the Christmas season?

A: I love Christmas. If you have a chance you should go to the Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach. Their doughnuts are really good.

Q: Do you have volunteer work you like to do?

A: I have participated in the track team’s kids camp each year. It’s really fun because the little kids really get into it.

Q: So what happened to your cross-country career?

A: Well, I play on a select soccer team, so in the fall of my junior year I played soccer at school. I’ve been playing soccer since I was a 5-year-old. But this year I went back to cross-country and I was able to make it to state. It was cool. Lots of people made the trip over to Pasco to see me run in the state meet.

Q: Do you participate in other sports?

A: I run track in the spring. The Everett Community College cross-country coach would like me to run there next year.

Q: You plan to earn an associate degree at Everett?

A: That would make sense, but I am also applying to some other colleges where I might have a chance to run cross-country. And I am applying to the University of Washington.

Q: What do you want to study?

A: My time at Children’s was really eye-opening. People are working hard there to make life better for kids. I want to go into the medical field, and I would like to work at that hospital. I am not sure I want to spend the 12 years it takes to become a doctor. Perhaps a nurse or a nurse practitioner.

I also had another good experience that came out of being at Children’s.

Q: What happened?

A: Because aplastic anemia can be fatal, my doctor at Children’s signed me up with the Make A Wish Foundation. This past summer they sent us to the Olympics in London. I got to see the U.S. women’s soccer team win their gold medal, and I got to meet the team. It was really, really cool.

Herald writer Gale Fiege

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Dylan Farrow says she wants to bring down Woody Allen

The 32-year-old said in an upcoming interview that she is telling the truth about him abusing her.

Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith and U2 added to Grammys performance roster

Also unveiled is a performance by pop star Miley Cyrus and superstar piano-rocker Elton John.

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman listens to a guide at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, last summer. Rodman was arrested Saturday on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. (Kim Kwang Hyon / Associated Press file)
Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

His agent says he’s dealing with his longtime struggle with alcoholism.

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Most Read