Arlington High ASB vice president Favian Villanueva says organization has been crucial in balancing his academics, activities, family and friends, and a job. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Arlington High ASB vice president Favian Villanueva says organization has been crucial in balancing his academics, activities, family and friends, and a job. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Arlington senior sets his sights on aerospace engineering

Favian Villanueva competes in cross country and track, is ASB vice president and a physics tutor.

ARLINGTON — Favian Villanueva, an Arlington High School senior, competes in cross country and track and field, is Associated Student Body vice president and a physics tutor.

Teachers say he’s the student who always greets others in the hallway and manages his many leadership roles with a smile. He’s headed to Northern Arizona University next year with aspirations to study electrical engineering.

Question: What made you want to take on leadership roles?

Answer: I just like helping people. I like leading them to accomplish their goals. It really stems from cross country, where junior year we got a bunch of freshmen who were extremely talented. Some of the best freshmen in the state and some of the best the school has ever gotten. I wanted to make sure they utilized their talents in the best way possible because I know what they can achieve is just amazing. I want to make sure they get there not only through my guidance, but I’m hoping to teach them that they can do it themselves as well. I think that kind of independence is really important for athletes and people in general.

Q: How do you stay positive when things get tough?

A: I think it’s definitely due to my family. They’re really positive people and I have a bunch of aunts, uncles, cousins and we’ve always just been a silly, joking family. We like to mess with each other all the time. So even if they’re like making fun of me as a joke, I laugh it off. So that has kind of gone into my life and if something is a little bit difficult I manage to keep a smile on my face no matter what.

Q: What are your best events?

A: The 3,200 meter, 1,600 meter and 800 meter.

Q: Do you have a job?

A: I’m a sales associate at the outlet mall at Guess.

Q: What has balancing athletics, work and school taught you?

A: Definitely organizing. You have to learn how to schedule your time properly. You have to save time for school, activities, family and friends, jobs.

Q: Who’s your role model?

A: My head coach (Jon) Murray. He’s the one that taught me the importance of leadership, integrity, hard work, perseverance. He did that with cross country but my favorite part about it is that he made it so we integrated those values into beyond just running. He’s definitely the man I respect most and the person I want to most be like.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I really like hiking. In the spring is one of my favorite times to go hiking because snow is just starting to melt and the sun is out and everything is still kind of wet but the views are just beautiful. All the dead trees are starting to come back to life again.

Q: What is your favorite hike in Snohomish County?

A: Mount Pilchuck.

Q: Are you going to continue running in college?

A: Oh yeah. There’s a lot of professional runners that go to Flagstaff because it’s (thousands of) feet in elevation so it’s a really hot zone for pro runners and I want to run there to maybe see them and I also just love running so I’m definitely going to keep it up. I want to start doing marathon training as soon as I’m out of high school.

Q: Why do you want to study electrical engineering?

A: I love math and I love science. Especially physics, I love physics.

Q: What could you see yourself doing with that degree?

A: I have aspirations to work for companies like Boeing, NASA, SpaceX because I’m really interested in the astronomy aspect and the engineering feats they do there, like the Mars rover.

Q: What is one of the best things that’s ever happened to you?

A: I think during a cross county meet when out of our seven guys, five of us broke 16 minutes in a 5K. The reason that was so amazing was because of the excitement we all had for each other, not really for us breaking individually but when we hugged and cheered and jumped up like little dorks it was such a surreal moment. Everything we worked together for, all those hard miles we put in, it all paid off for us in the same race.

Q: What’s one thing you want to accomplish before you graduate?

A: I want to run a competitive half marathon.

Q: What inspires and motivates you?

A: Kids like those that have been featured as Super Kids. Whether its entrepreneurship, starting a club that helps represent different people, people that are making their own websites or video games, I’m just so impressed when kids our age do something that big on their own.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439;

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