Seeds of debate: Justin was a founding member of the Arlington High School debate club last year as a junior. In fact, at times, he was the entire team. He is glad to see interest in debate growing at his school. Next year, there will be a debate class with more students signing up than there are spots.
Enjoying high school: "My favorite part of high school, I think, is when we actually get into those real deep discussions about what is really happening in the world. I like talking about current events and history."
Enjoying high school, Part II: "One of the best parts of high school is definitely the friends you make. Friends are important."
With friends comes humor. Justin’s friends like to change the name of "Buster," his family’s oft-shaved miniature poodle, every time they visit.
An appreciation for veterans: He interviewed a veteran as part of a military history class earlier this year and became fascinated with the USS Indianapolis, a warship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine two weeks before the end of World War II. He interviewed Paul Murphy, a USS Indianapolis survivor from Colorado who eventually came to his school to describe his experiences as part of an assembly. Only 316 members of the 1,199 crew survived.
Veterans postscript: Teacher Mark Bianchi later approached him to see if he would help in "Operation Recognition," an effort to honor American veterans. Justin attended an Arlington School Board meeting to testify in favor of a resolution allowing World War II veterans to receive a diploma if they left high school early to join the military.
Pining for the old school: The new Arlington High School is a vast improvement in many ways but Justin did like the feel of the old campus, particularly its main building.
"I will never forget the old A building we had at the old high school. You just remember how God-awful it was, and you just kind of cherish it for that."
Challenging schedule: He has a 4.0 grade point average but isn’t slacking off his senior year, taking calculus, chemistry, mass media and college-level advanced placement courses in U.S. history, English and Spanish. He’s also been on the school’s Knowledge Bowl squad and the Hi-Q academic team that won the regional championship this year.
Interest in law and politics: He plans to attend Willamette University in Portland, Ore., next fall and is considering majoring in political science with an eye on law school after that. He likes following politics and enjoys reading works from documentary filmmaker and author Michael Moore.
His interest in politics started early: "When I was younger, I used to tell my teachers: ‘I am going to run for president of the United States, and you better vote for me.’ "
Now, he looks forward to becoming part of the electorate.
"I can’t wait until I can vote. I am very excited to be able to vote in the presidential elections."
Thankful for his education: "I will miss the high school teachers. I have had a lot of great teachers here."
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ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG / The Herald