Sam Wrzeszcz, Kamiak High School

Short on vowels: Last name is pronounced “Resh,” and he has heard many fruitless pronunciation attempts over the years.

Ready to learn and serve: Will attend Duke University in North Carolina next fall on a Navy ROTC scholarship worth $150,000. He’ll spend four years on active duty and four years in the reserves to fulfill his commitment.

Wants to serve: “We all have a responsibility to serve in some way. I think teachers serve the same way I think journalists serve. The military is my way to serve.”

Academic success: Is taking four college-level advanced placement classes, including chemistry, statistics, English and American government. Maintains a 3.85 GPA. Is student body treasurer and was on Hi-Q and Knowledge Bowl academic teams.

Voice to board: Serves as Kamiak’s student representative on the Mukilteo School Board. Enjoys giving input into districtwide decisions and has come to admire the board. “I don’t know if people realize how hard they work.”

Favorite books: “Faith of My Fathers” by U.S. Sen. John McCain; “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Particularly admires the character of Atticus Finch for always doing the right thing. “If I can be half the person that Atticus is, that would be an accomplishment. He’s such an admirable person.”

Favorite musicians: David Bowie, Tom Petty.

A contrast: Attended school in one of North Carolina’s poorest communities as a second- and third-grader. Later moved to Mukilteo. “In the back of my mind, I always see from that experience that it is not as easy for some people as it is for others.”

Working to improve: Was an alternate to the district meet in cross country as a senior, a far cry from freshman year, when he was pudgy and often finished five minutes behind the second-to-last junior varsity runner. Has logged hundreds of miles of training since then. “I’m almost more proud of my cross country accomplishments than my academic accomplishments. I just had to work so hard.”

Mukilteo memories: “I’ve had a real positive childhood. I have met lots of kids who are going to grow up and do interesting things next year. I think it’s just a real positive place to grow up.”

Future dreams: Would love to serve in U.S. Senate some day. Was a page for the Senate in Washington, D.C., during his junior year for five months, getting to see firsthand how important national decisions are made. “The Senate really embodies the American spirit of debate and compromise.”

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