Q: So we hear you are graduating a whole year early. How did you do that?
A: I picked up extra credits by taking classes at Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center. I am excited about being almost done.
Q: What do you plan to do next school year?
A: I am going to Skagit Valley College for the prerequisites that will get me into Skagit’s nursing program. It’s one of the best programs around. My goal is to become a surgical nurse.
Q: Wow! But if that’s your goal, why not study to be a surgeon?
A: When I was younger, I had the dream of being a doctor, and having three kids, a dog and a house with a white picket fence. As you get older, your dreams change to fit what is practical. I don’t want 12 years of medical school and training.
I can be a nurse quicker than I can be a doctor, and that means I will be helping people sooner. I love the idea that, in surgery, you could be doing something different each day. I look forward to being part of team of people who can save lives.
Q: So if you are interested in medicine, are you a math and science person?
A: I like math and science, perhaps not as much as I should, but I really enjoy reading and writing.
Q: What books do you like to read?
A: I love the classics such as “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” but my guilty pleasure is the vampire genre. Not that I have a whole lot of time for extra reading. Last night I was up until 1 a.m. to finish an online class.
Q: What do you do when you’re not at school or studying?
A: I work an average of 20 hours a week at Target. I cashier, work in guest services and in the food section. I go to work right after school. My boyfriend works all the time, too. We rarely have much time together. On my days off, I volunteer at Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington.
Q: What do you do at the hospital?
A: Because of liability issues, I have very limited contact with patients, so mostly I do things such as strip beds, file papers and stock supplies.
Q: You also were chosen Arlington School District’s outstanding student of the month earlier this year by the Arlington Rotary Club. Was your family excited?
A: My life hasn’t been easy, but I am thankful for the help of my grandparents, Diane Lustig and Wayne Cook. They were excited. My grandpa is a great encouragement to me, 100 percent. I don’t know what I would do without people in my extended family. They would do anything for me. The teachers and staff at Weston are all like that, too.
Q: You will be one of the youngest people at Skagit Valley College in the fall. Does that make you nervous?
A: People think I am older, anyway, but I am excited to challenge myself in college. I need that challenge, so that when I earn good grades, I can be proud of myself. My grandpa says you have to push yourself to get better and to grow.
Q: Where would you like to work as a surgical nurse?
A: Eventually, I would like to be in a big city hospital such as Harborview in Seattle. I hope to work primarily saving the lives of older people. They are so cute.
Q: You seem shy sometimes, but your principal says you are just humble. A: (Smiles. Shrugs.) I just want to do my best.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.