STANWOOD — Anna ten Hoopen has coached a cheer team in Spain, learned welding in Stanwood and plans to serve in the U.S. Navy.
The Stanwood High School senior has been accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy, continuing a family legacy. She’ll leave for Annapolis less than two weeks after graduation.
Her parents and two uncles studied at the Naval Academy. Her father retired from the Navy earlier this year.
Ten Hoopen, 18, and her two younger sisters have lived around the country and abroad. It instilled a love for travel.
She spent her first three years of high school in Spain, at the American School of Madrid. She’s loved cheerleading since she was young, and when she learned the school in Spain didn’t have a cheer team, she started one. She also joined a separate, competitive team that performed on “Spain’s Got Talent.”
It hasn’t been easy, moving from place to place, ten Hoopen said. She makes friends, joins teams, moves and starts again. Most of her moves have been from one large city to another. Stanwood is different, she said, but in a good way. She’s surrounded by students who have been there since kindergarten.
Ten Hoopen is taking advanced math and literature classes at Stanwood High, along with civics and Spanish. Her favorite lessons, though, have been in a hands-on class for mechanical technology in agriculture, where she’s learned about wiring and welding. That could be handy on a Navy ship, she said.
At first, she didn’t plan on attending the Naval Academy. She didn’t want to choose a school based on where her parents went. Then she realized that joining the Navy would give her opportunities she craved.
“You get to travel, you get a good education,” ten Hoopen said. “You go to college and you have a bigger purpose serving your country.”
She hopes to major in math and minor in Spanish. She’s leaning toward pursuing a job on a ship, rather than working with submarines or planes, she said.
She could make a career of the Navy or return to school after five to seven years, she said. If she goes back to school, her goal would be an advanced degree in biomedical engineering.
Someday, she’d like to return to Spain or move to another European country and teach for a while. She could teach math and coach cheer, she said. But she hasn’t settled on any one path.
“I would say to people to have large expectations for yourself,” she said. “Know that you have a lot of options. If you have a goal that you want, don’t think you can’t get there.”
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org