SNOHOMISH — Glacier Peak High School senior Shelby Northen, 17, is a thoughtful young woman who has made the most of her high school adventure.
Question: What middle school and elementary school did you go to?
Answer: I actually moved here the summer before my seventh grade year. So I went to Valley View Middle School, but I went to Bonsack Elementary in Roanoke, Virginia. I was actually born here in Washington, in Port Orchard, and I lived here until I was 6. Then we moved to the East Coast.
My dad was in the Navy for 20 years. He retired and went to school in North Carolina, and then got a job in Virginia, and then his job moved him back here. My mom’s whole family is here. Washington has always been home.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: As a senior, I am taking both of my English electives this semester. So I’m in myth and Brit lit, and those are two of my favorite classes. … They’re both college prep classes. I’m also in (college-level Advanced Placement) statistics, which has proved to be probably my hardest class. It’s probably my favorite type of math so far. So it’s helped with the difficulty of the class. Then I’m in Spanish. Wind ensemble — I play flute. And I have government.
Q: How long have you played flute?
A: Since sixth grade. I picked up piccolo my sophomore year, and that was a lot of fun. I also play guitar and a little bit of ukulele … This year I decided to join the jazz choir and try that out for a little bit. So I sing a little bit. November 1st is our first choir concert.
Q: You’ve also sung in theater performances.
A: I’ve been a part of every theater production since my freshman year in some way. I’ve been behind the scenes and on the stage. Right now, I’m set lead for our upcoming musical, “Tarzan,” so I’m really excited about that. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun. We’re here every day after school. We’re making rocks, and trees, and vines. It’s going to be an awesome show. That opens Veteran’s Day weekend.
Q: What other activities are you involved in?
A: I’m in National Honor Society here at school. This is my first year with Link Crew, and it’s been a lot of fun. I have a group of 12 freshmen.
I also volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium on the weekends and during the summer. It’s a lot of fun. I’m a youth ocean advocate. I basically go around in the exhibits and talk about fish, and ocean conservation, and all the kinds of things that are in our area that are concerning, or just fun facts. I talk to kids. I sometimes face paint. During the summer we do stuff out in the field as well… My dad is one of the (volunteer) divers there. I’ve kind of grown up around the Aquarium.
Q: Does that point to a long-term interest for you?
A: I thought about it when I first started, about going into marine biology. But I’ve kind of figured out over time that what I love about it is the talking to people … and the community that’s there. In the future, I’ll probably pursue something more along the lines of humanities, social work.
Q: What colleges are you looking at?
A: I’m applying in-state to Western, Wazzu and U-Dub.
Q: What is it like to look ahead toward the future?
A: It’s scary. There’s a lot of things I just haven’t figured out. I don’t know what I’m going to eventually end up doing. All I know is that I want to do something that helps people and I want to someday support a family. Just how to get there is going to be an adventure. But I’m excited to see where it takes me.
Q: Do you have other hobbies or interests or things you like to do to relax or have fun?
Sleep (laughs). I spend a lot of time doing homework. But besides that I spend time with my friends. I go to as many of the sporting events here at school as I can.
I’m one of the school’s drum majors, so I conduct our marching band.
Going into it, I was very nervous. We had a week in the summer where we did band camp. Mr. (David) Weed was our teacher … and he was so helpful. I learned so much from him about being a drum major, but also how to approach life in general. He gave us three rules, and it was to take a deep breath and relax; have fun; and take it slow. “Be cool,” were his words.
Those were very helpful (to remember) when you’re standing in front of a 200-person group and you’re moving your arms around and they’re trying to follow you and — whoo! — it’s a lot.
The energy that you feel from your team and the stands and the band — it’s very rewarding. It’s one of my highlights from high school, for sure.
Q: Do you have anybody you look up to as an inspiration or a mentor?
A: Mr. Weed is definitely on that list. Also, my parents (Maxine and Ford) are definitely on that list. We’ve always had a very tight family connection. I think it’s something that’s very important, for me. They’ve always supported me, and encouraged me to do my best, and to reach for the stars, and all that cheesy kind of stuff that parents say, but it really does make a difference.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-339-3432.