MUKILTEO — Maryevva “Mary” Craggs, 17, has boundless energy and wants to apply her optimistic spirit to helping the oppressed and impoverished. A summer trip to Guatemala proved especially meaningful.
Question: I’m looking at this list of things you’re involved with and I don’t even know where to start. Do you sleep?
Answer: I’m a really energetic person. My mom is energetic, too. I sort of inherited that from her.
Q: Do you have a favorite activity?
A: I’ve been dancing for my whole life. Since I was little. I’ve been on the dance team all four years (with varsity letter). All my friends are on dance team. They’re like my family. … We do three categories. We do dance, which is lyrical, very flowing. We do pom, which is high-energy and with pom, like cheerleading. And then we have kick, when we stand in a long line like The Rockettes. I’m on the end because I’m the shortest one. I really like kick. It’s a lot of fun and takes a lot of endurance. We are up to 80 kicks in a row. Our goal is 100. I love the performing aspects (of dance). It’s just great to smile!
Q: You’re also in leadership?
A: We organize all the school events, spirit events like assemblies, and food drives. We try to include everybody, including people who don’t get the spotlight. It’s all about service.
Q: Your school also has a fashion club.
A: One of my best friends Emily started the club. I really like clothes and fashion. We talk about trends. People come in and talk about blogging and product development.
Q: What’s Model United Nations? That sounds interesting.
A: We simulate the real United Nations. So every week you get a country, and we have a meeting where we get together and have a problem to solve. (This week) we’re doing global warming. My country is Tuvalu, which I didn’t even know was a country. You really have to identify with the country and think about their interests.
Q: You haven’t been to Tuvalu. But you did spend two months in Guatemala this past summer through the Seattle nonprofit Global Visionaries.
A: You live with one other person and a family in a little village in Guatemala. It’s full-immersion. Every day I worked at a hospital, giving love to a lot of patients. It was a lot of people with physical and mental disabilities. … As they get older, the young women and young men don’t get a lot of attention. So I talked to them in Spanish. I sang with them and danced with them. One man, Daniel, had lived there 45 years at the hospital. He’s blind.
The experience opened up my eyes to a whole other world. I’m a very emotional person. They say you can’t cry; you have to be strong. It was hard but I did it. One of my goals is I want to go back and visit the family I stayed with there, and all the kids, and visit the hospital again.
They live in a little bowl surrounded by volcanoes. A volcano erupted, and I was super scared! The kids laughed and said, “It’s OK. It happens every day.”
Q: So you’re fluent in Spanish?
A: No, hardly! My Spanish definitely did get a lot better.
Q: Tell me about your volunteer activities here.
A: I volunteer at the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett. I work mostly in the art studio, helping kids with their projects. I also help with a music class. We sing songs in Spanish and play instruments.
Q: I notice you were named Kamiak’s Student of the Year in 2013-14 — as a freshman. Teachers select that honor from a pool of all the Students of the Month for the academic year.
A: I didn’t expect it. I was pretty shocked.
Q: Do you have any mentors or people who inspire you?
A: My parents for sure. My dad, Chris, and my mom, Heather. They’re both teachers, and so selfless. The best parents ever. Also my dance coach, Ms. (Kathryn) Noonan, has really shaped me and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.
Q: So what’s next for you?
A: I’m applying to lots of different schools, mostly smaller schools (including Brown, Pomona and Vanderbilt). I’d really like to be a human rights lawyer. History is my favorite class, so I think I could incorporate that. Maybe one day I’d like to be a judge.
Q: What drew you in that direction?
A: I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. I love the Supreme Court and have followed it. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my favorite Supreme Court justice. And there’s a lot of human rights violations in the world. In the U.S., we have so many privileges. I’d like to extend those privileges.
Q: How does it feel, to be at this stage in life?
A: It’s a little bit stressful — I have a lot to get done. But it’s also exciting, all the possibilities that can come. And I’m also in a state of disbelief, because I can’t believe I’m a senior.
Melissa Slager: 425-339-3432; firstname.lastname@example.org.