MUKILTEO — Greg Marshall, 17, has a singular mission in life: to be kind. You don’t have to know Marshall to receive a smile and a greeting. And when he says “Have a nice day,” he means it. He’ll do what he can to make sure it happens.
Question: I asked the school staff why you’re a Super Kid and got a big response. These were just some of the words they used: positive energy, authentic kindness, warm, inviting, a gentleman. Is that a goal of yours, to be kind?
Answer: Yeah, it’s a goal of mine, to be kind for the rest of my life. To start off like this and make others appreciate what I’m doing is a real honor. I want to keep that up. It’s important to me because I love to see kindness, and if there’s no kindness, to make it happen. To see a smile on their face, if they’re having a bad day to make them happy. So to hear those words is really special.
Q: Can you think of an example, of when you were able to make someone happy?
A: It was at lunch, there was a kid who was sitting by himself at a table, and I wanted to go over to him and make his day and have a conversation with him. And it made him so happy … it made me happy too. I didn’t want him to be lonely.
Q: Another aspect they said they admired in you was that you’re tenacious, a hard worker. Does that ring true?
A: Yeah, a hard worker — whether it’s a project in school or an assignment, I work hard to achieve that goal. For example leadership, I love leadership and just doing posters or staying after school, or before school even starts to show up, and do it to the best of my abilities. Hard work pays off. I feel accomplished. I feel like I’m helping. If you put in the hard work, you’re making a better scene, for them and for yourself.
Q: You are a very positive person.
A: I love being positive. At school, I want to say, “Have a great day” … because I want to be positive. And if there is any negative, to turn it around. Just do the little things. Those little things can really affect them and make their day.
Q: Is it hard sometimes?
A: Sometimes they don’t acknowledge it, and I keep trying. I know that they hear me. … Just keep making that person happy and they’ll appreciate it on the inside.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: I’m taking English right now. It’s a very fun class. I love English and writing and talking — you can express positivity throughout the classroom. I’m taking leadership; that’s great to help out the school and get more involved and show your school spirit.
My math class is also fun. You can show your thinking and, with any teacher, let them know you appreciate them teaching and they do a great job, because they’re there for you.
Another class I love is being a TA (teacher’s assistant). You can help out the teacher. … Another one is “Careers in Education.” That’s looking at whether I want to be a teacher. …
My last class is “Comparative History of Ideas.” It’s a philosophy class.
Q: Leadership keeps you busy.
A: We’re currently working on homecoming as well as the Veterans Day assembly in November. … (Homecoming) is coming up quick. The theme is “Enchanted Forest.” I’m going to go. It’s so fun to put on the event. It’s a great time.
Q: What colleges are you looking at?
A: I’m thinking about going to Everett Community College and then to transfer to Western and to look into communication, as well as teaching. I want to help others.
Q: Who do you look up to, for inspiration or as mentors? You mentioned your history teacher, Shane Neighbors.
A: Mr. Neighbors inspires me. He’s a great guy. He makes me want to continue to keep going as well. He does a great job, in and outside the classroom.
I also look up to a teacher named Mr. (David) Bishop. He inspires me and helps out the class a lot.
You can ask them anything and they’ll help you.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: When I do have spare time, I love to seize the opportunity to help others. … Making sure I’m going up to them and see how they’re doing, and help them feel better about themselves.
… I love playing the piano. It started mostly this summer. I taught myself a song and then just started composing new songs. I put my emotions into it. I keep practicing those songs to show others. It’s a lot of fun.
Q: Tell me about your family.
A: I have an older sister, Melanie. She’s currently at the University of Washington. I’m really proud of her. She’s going to do great things. … I love my parents, Barb and Bill. They’re always there for me. And I’m always there for them, to the very end. I love my whole family. Best sister. Best dad. Best mom. And animals. … I have a dog and a cat.
Q: How does it feel to be a senior?
A: It feels amazing. It feels so good. Throughout the years, starting out elementary, and then middle school, and now being a senior — when I graduate, it will be amazing, that feeling of success.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-339-3432.