EVERETT — Mohamed Nour is on track to graduate from Cascade High School at age 15. The go-getter is applying to universities while staying busy with school leadership and sports.
Question: Wait, you’re 15? And you’re a senior?
Answer: Back in Africa, it’s different. Back there you can start earlier. (The family moved from Sudan to Everett in 2008.) My dad used to work here and it got hard for him to go back and forth.
Q: Is it different, being a 15-year-old senior?
A: Everybody can drive and I can’t drive yet. … I got my permit and I’m signing up for classes.
Q: You’ve run cross country four years and help with projects, like the recent Battle Against Cancer 5k run. This year you also joined the cheer team.
A: I thought, why not? Try something new.
Q: Is it still considered unique for a boy to join cheer?
A: I hear that a lot. Even my friends. “You sure?” My parents see cheerleaders at games and ask, “That’s what you do?” No. I just throw them up.
Q: You’re the president of the school’s Black Student Union. Tell me about that.
A: Black Student Union is just trying to get all the black people together and educate them (about college opportunities). Most black people don’t think about college. Black Student Union is bringing them in and telling them what they can and should be in the world — and not be what the TV and media say.
Q: Have you talked about the different ways athletes are responding during the national anthem in response to police shootings of black men?
A: We agreed with it. Instead we’re standing in silence, rather than putting a hand over your heart. You’ve still got to respect (the anthem).
Q: One of your recent discussions was about stereotypes. And you had some stereotypes of America before moving here.
A: What I saw was just the movies. So when we were moving it was a little scary. I thought it would be lots of fighting and guns, lots of swearing — and really, really cold.
Q: The cold part was true, I take it.
A: The first day that I came, it was 1 or 2 o’clock at night and the first thing I noticed was when I breathe, you can see the smoke. I thought, “What’s happening?”
Q: You’re in AVID, which is helping you apply for scholarships and go through the application process.
A: For AVID right now our big thing is working on our personal statement. We’re trying to tie in sacrifice, solidarity, service, and what you did to become who you are. … Everyone has a story to tell.
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: Lots. A really interesting book that I just found is “Beowulf” from Grendel’s side. Grendel shows you a different perspective of it. It’s just fascinating how we all live in this big world but we don’t know what other people are thinking. We only have one point of view of life.
Q: How does it feel to be a senior?
A: To be a senior, it’s not what I thought. Last year, I thought, “Yes! A senior! No stress. No homework.” But then I got there and there was so much to do.
Q: You’re doing some high-level stuff, including leadership, college-level English, calculus. What advice would you give a freshman — who is likely the same age as you?
A: Most important is to be organized. And even if you don’t know where to go (after high school), keep your grades up. … It goes so fast. When you get to be a junior or senior, you might wonder, “What if…?” You should get a head start.
Melissa Slager: 425-339-3432; email@example.com.