TULALIP — Angel Marion Davis, 17, is heading into her senior year at Marysville Mountain View Arts & Technology High School, an alternative senior high in Tulalip.
She’s still figuring out exactly what she wants to do when she graduates, but college has been on her mind since seventh grade, she said.
Her hope is to find room for two of her passions: cosmetology and the English language.
Q: What do you like about English?
A: The best example I tell people is that definitions are like hidden meanings. You can say a word, and it can mean a paragraph of information. That’s just cool to me, to be able to know big words and connect it with a sentence.
Q: Do you know what you want to study in college?
A: I was thinking about risking it and throwing all of my energy into English, but I also have a huge interest in cosmetology. So I want to go to a cosmetology school, get a license, go to college for English — and hopefully do cosmetology on weekends, and find a way to incorporate both into my life.
Q: What’s the best essay you’ve written?
A: I just did an essay on Dale Earnhardt (Sr.), and it was probably the hardest I’ve ever had to do. There was no rubric or anything. My teacher told me it had to be a minimum of three paragraphs, and I had to write about what I thought was important. So it could be 15 pages.
Q: What was the thesis?
A: It was a bit of everything. Biographical stuff. Who he was as a person, how he raced, why he was called The Intimidator. The tragedy, and what people learned from that. It took me three weeks to finish because I didn’t know what was important. There was no rubric. The entire thing was up to me. I actually have a copy of it always on me, because I’m that nerd. I have two copies of it, one with citations and one without.
Q: How long did it end up being?
A: Four pages, I think?
Q: Single-spaced or double-spaced?
Q: So is your family into NASCAR?
A: Yeah, the people that I just moved in with, that’s, like, their life. We go to races pretty often. The man of the house, I guess, Steve, he’s a race car driver. And his nephew is a drifter (auto racing). This time last year, if you told me that I’d be this obsessed with it, I’d be like, ‘You’re crazy, nobody likes cars that much.’ Now I’m totally a car person.
Q: Have you raced at all?
A: No. There’s usually races in the summer, and I was offered to get in a race car. But that was before I even knew how to reverse a car. So I didn’t do it. I’ve sat in the drift car, though, in the passenger seat.
Q: Do you want to talk about any challenges you’ve faced, in or out of school?
A: In school, a big one was communication. I had the worst time telling my teachers I didn’t understand. So I fell behind, because I wouldn’t understand the first day. So the second day I wouldn’t understand, because I’m lacking knowledge from the first day. I would never tell teachers I was struggling, until I got in trouble at home. For the longest time, I just didn’t speak up, stand up for myself or anything, and had the hardest time communicating with teachers. Outside of school, things have been pretty crazy. I’m still adapting to everyday life. I’m an unaccompanied minor now. I’ve had a lot of obstacles in the last year.
Q: What’s the situation? And we don’t have to talk about this, if you don’t want to.
A: Family problems, I guess. A lot of my family hasn’t finished high school. So if somebody told me, ‘You need to do your homework,’ then my mindset was, ‘You didn’t finish high school, so you can’t tell me what to do.’
Q: You have a safe place to stay and everything now?
A: Things are actually amazing. I’m working toward getting my license, I was looking at cars yesterday. So much is better. It’s quiet. There’s food. My living environment is so much better.
Q: What do you like to do outside of school?
A: I love reading. Like, talking to my past English teacher, who retired, asking what she recommends.
Q: What’s the best recommendation she’s given?
A: ‘The Great Gatsby.’ I’ve read it a bunch of times. And I just did a project on it. I thought, ‘This is going to be a breeze,’ like I’m going to plow through it. Then I started reading it, and I was like, ‘Oh, I actually don’t remember it,’ so I might as well just reread the whole book.
Q: Isn’t it crazy how when you read a book for fun, it’s so different from reading it and having to analyze everything that’s going on?
Q: Yeah, like, a good example for me is when I read ‘The Outsiders’ in freshman year was way different than when I read it in middle school. Because when I read it in middle school, I read it like from a historical point of view. But in freshman year it was like, ‘These are text clues.’
Q: And what is it you like about cosmetology?
A: The process. It’s just really cool to see somebody with black long hair, go out with short neon-pink and light-purple hair. It’s really cool. And the different aspects of it. Balayage. Shadow roots just amaze me.
Q: Do you dye your own hair?
A: I’ve been doing my own hair since seventh grade. I haven’t gotten a professional haircut since.
Q: Have you done different colors?
A: I’ve done every color. I’ve done rainbow a bunch of times. Chartreuse. Periwinkle. Basic ROYGBIV. Pastel colors. Neon colors. Dark colors. Emerald.
Q: I’m going to sound like a grandpa, but why? Why do it?
A: I don’t know. For such a long time, I had such a hard time with my identity because I grew up with all boys. So I just stuck a needle in my lip one day and put red streaks in my hair. Ever since then I just kept going. I’m a pincushion now.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.