Charlie Tran, 18, Mariner High School senior

Hard work: Grew up in a family without much money, but a belief that effort and education pay off. Takes tough classes and stays up late to make sure lessons are completed.

Schedule: Class load includes four college-level Advanced Placement courses in statistics, government, literature and fifth-year Spanish. Took four AP classes last year in calculus, physics, English and history.

Effort pays: “It’s all a matter of hard work. I truly believe in the American dream where if you work hard, good will come to you.”

Rewards: Earned full-ride scholarships to Yale and Georgetown universities, but will enroll in the University of Washington honors program at the request of his parents, who want him closer to home.

Tough decision: Admits he really wanted to go to Yale, but respects parents’ input. “People are telling me, ‘You are crazy.’ But family, for me, comes first.”

Future plans: Is considering a major in either computer science or computer engineering and a second major in business with an emphasis on finance. “I want to make sure my family doesn’t have financial issues any more.”

Involved: Is president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, Future Business Leaders of America and computer club. Has been a member of the chess team, Green (environmental) Club, Spanish Club and a student mentor. Also played two years of varsity tennis.

Champs: Was captain of Mariner’s Hi-Q team this year, which won the academic competition among Snohomish and Island county high schools.

Info junkie: Follows Seattle sports teams and current events. “I love reading the news and watching the news.”

No wheels: Doesn’t have his driver’s license, but gets a ride to school from his parents each morning with his younger brother, Dennis. Figures he’ll learn to drive while in college.

Changing times: Likes major changes to his environment like when he went from Explorer Middle School to Mariner High School. Looks forward to living on the UW campus next year. Change, the never-ending push to improve products, is part of reason he is attracted to the technology field.

Retro tech: Learned about technology through rebuilding old computers he would work on with his dad. “My goal is to build a (customized) computer by myself.”

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