Archbishop Murphy High School senior Maddie Hill is involved in the Kairos retreat program and the National Honor Society, and is a captain on the girls basketball team. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Archbishop Murphy High School senior Maddie Hill is involved in the Kairos retreat program and the National Honor Society, and is a captain on the girls basketball team. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

‘Family is made of love, and it doesn’t have to be by blood’

“Servant leader” Maddie Hill, an Archbishop Murphy senior, is inspired by her parents to help others.

EVERETT — Archbishop Murphy High School senior Maddie Hill, 17, helped organize this year’s Kairos retreat for upperclassmen. She is a captain on the girls basketball team, and takes a heavy class load.

Question: You helped organize this year’s Kairos retreat?

Answer: I’m a leader on Kairos. It’s a really awesome retreat (for juniors and seniors). We make posters and give talks as well. I’m actually giving one of the talks this year and I’m really excited about it. It’s called “Know Yourself.” I’ll be touching a little bit on my adoption as well as a move to the Tri-Cities that was difficult and moving back here, and my awesome family and how they’re really wonderful people, and how I really found myself.

When I was 2 weeks old, I was adopted. I was born in Statesboro, Georgia, and raised in Mukilteo. My birth mother was in a homeless shelter and struggled with addiction, so she couldn’t keep me. And my birth father, they don’t really know where he was, but he was full Puerto Rican. That’s pretty much all they know.

But my parents are really awesome, and they raised me as if I were born naturally with them. They’ve been a huge blessing.

Q: How does your own life story impact the way you see the world?

A: I think that it definitely makes me think of family differently than most people might think of family … I just think that family is made of love, and it doesn’t have to be by blood.

Q: What else are you involved with?

A: I’m also an ambassador (to prospective new students) and a Link leader (with incoming freshmen). I’m involved in varsity basketball (as a point guard), and (National Honor Society).

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Right now I’m taking “Climate Change”; “Utopias and Dystopias” — it’s basically a senior English class; AP statistics; yearbook; senior social studies; theology; and strength and conditioning. … I’m enjoying stats.

Q: Do you know what you want to do after high school?

A: I want to study biology or pre-medicine in college. And if I got the opportunity, I would like to play college basketball. I love basketball. It’s definitely a passion of mine. … I’m looking mostly west coast, but I’m also looking at a couple of schools in Colorado. I want to stay pretty close to home.

Q: Do you have anyone you look up to as a mentor or who inspires you?

A: I really look up to my parents. My mom, Ellie, owns a small business and pretty much built it up on her own. And my dad, Dennis, was a firefighter for 36 years until he retired. I feel like they have a lot of characteristics that I hope to have one day and that I’m working toward now. They have a really strong work ethic, strong faith. And they always put people before themselves. They put a lot of time into me, and that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Q: I’ve heard you described as a “great servant leader.” Is that something you try for, or what does that mean to you?

A: I think that I just try to put other people before myself. I don’t think that I, like, really try. I think it’s something that just happens, like after seeing my parents do it.

Q: Why do you think that’s important?

A: I think that in this world, a lot of people are very selfish, and that just leads to other people feeling like they aren’t as important. If we make other people feel important, then the world will slowly become a better place.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I usually go to the gym and shoot. I also spend a lot of time with my family and my friends. I like to bake with my parents, mostly my mom. Cookies, pie. (My favorite is) apple pie. I make a pretty good one.

Q: You make the crust, too?

A: Absolutely, yes. … It takes a very long time.

Q: Is there anything people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I play piano. I have since second grade. My closest friends know. I love the piano. I kind of play by ear. I like to play everything, but I also like classical music, so I like playing classical music as well. I usually play for myself, but my parents enjoy listening so it’s usually for them.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or movie?

A: Favorite movie probably “Cheaper by the Dozen 2.” I was reading a book called “Do Hard Things,” and that’s a pretty good book.

Q: What’s it like to be at this stage?

A: It’s crazy to think about. It went really fast. I believe that I’m prepared for college. I feel like other kids in my grade — there’s a little bit of anxiety, because we don’t know what’s coming next. But I’m excited for college and to start “adulthood” I guess.

Melissa Slager: mslager@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3432.

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