GRANITE FALLS — Orion Green, 18, a senior at Granite Falls High School, has a lot on his plate. He’s an Eagle Scout, a track and field athlete and a sousaphone player. He hopes to study electrical engineering in pursuit of a career in the Navy. He’s kind of a nerd, he said. He likes math.
Question: What’s interesting about math to you?
Answer: I like math because it has a hard answer. There are fundamental rules that make sense to me. But math can teach you a lot of things. If you don’t get an answer right, you can try again and you can get it right. Math is fun, because you can make sure you get the answer right every time if you do the correct things.
Q: How does somebody develop an interest in electrical engineering? Was there a project you did?
A: Yeah, there’s a couple. The first one that sparked my interest was the Eco Cor program at this high school. While I am no longer in it, they create low-energy vehicles. So they have a car back there that goes 1,000 miles per gallon on diesel fuel. At the Shell Eco-marathon, they have different categories. So I started looking at electric cars, then I just went into the numbers on how humans pump carbon emissions into the atmosphere. And I learned and kept seeing what we’re doing, and I developed an interest for sustainable fuels.
Another thing was robotics. I’ve been into robotics since I was 9. My father, he’s a technician at Boeing. My oldest sister, who’s 23, works for the Air Force, doing testing for satellites. She started when my dad wanted to start a robotics team. So when I was 4 or 5, I started with robotics. I teach robotics to kids at the Boys & Girls Club. My dad is a really big influence. Once we tried to make a Tesla coil together. It didn’t work out very well.
Q: Wait, what happened?
A: We just stopped doing it. It’s not like it blew up.
Q: And you built your own computer?
A: I knew I needed a computer for high school. So I decided I’m going to make one, because I’ve seen it’s cheaper, and you can usually get a better computer out of it. My grandma and grandpa used to own a bed and breakfast in Snohomish, and so I took odd jobs around there. I did insulation under stairs. I did a bunch of really crappy jobs that summer. There were days I was a gardener, and I tended to their gardens, and I made bouquets for my grandma.
Q: Are you more analytical or do you have an artistic side?
A: So I like to process things logically, but that isn’t to say I can’t do art. I’m in music. Music is really a lot of counting and numbers and science involved. I picked the nerdiest of all the art forms.
Q: When did you start playing music?
A: I started playing trombone in fifth grade.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to, outside of band?
A: A lot of things. My favorite band is Weezer. When I’m not listening to the rock music, I like big band jazz. I have a friend, Will, who’s in jazz band, and he really likes prog jazz and all these weird solos. And I’m like, nah. Big band. You got to have the big sound.
Q: What else do you like to do outside of school?
A: Boy Scouts is a lot of fun. I really like to camp, I really like to hike. One of my favorite things is being on the water, paddling canoes and kayaks. I went last summer on something called Order of the Arrow High Adventure. I did two weeks paddling a canoe in Minnesota and southern Canada. One hundred and seventy five miles.
Q: Jeez. Is that on lakes?
A: You portage between lakes. That’s probably the biggest Boy Scout trip I’ve ever done. I’m lodge chief for Sikhs Mox Lamonti Lodge, which is from the Canadian border to the bottom of Snohomish County. Boy Scouts has really enriched my life through service work, and just having a lot of fun with other people.
Q: Do you have favorite places to go hiking around here?
A: That’s what’s great about Granite Falls. We have some of the best hiking and backpacking trails in the state, right here. We’ve done a couple things just around Mountain Loop.
Q: What events do you do in track and field?
A: I’m a pole vaulter. I also run the 100 and the 300 hurdles, but I predominately pole vault.
Q: I guess I’ll just ask bluntly. How good are you?
A: I’m a varsity athlete. I missed state by one place last year. If I would’ve jumped 3 inches higher, I would’ve gone to state.
Q: Are there any challenges you’ve faced that you want to talk about?
A: You know, when you come from Granite Falls, you see the world as a small town you come from. And it’s not. So I guess something I’ve faced throughout my time is just learning that Granite Falls is really small, and there’s so much more out there as well, and I’ve discovered that. A lot of kids haven’t. Sometimes Granite Falls gets a bad rap. But we have some amazing stuff here.
Q: If you could talk to yourself in seventh grade, what would like to tell yourself?
A: ‘Seventh-Grade Orion, make sure to involve yourself, but don’t get over your head.’ I’ve definitely had times where I was over-committed to a lot of things, and I just want me to know it’s good to do stuff and it’s good to have fun and be a part of organizations. But sometimes, you should take a break.
Q: Have you applied to colleges?
A: Yeah, I’ve sent out applications. I’m applying to the U.S. Naval Academy, so that’s my top choice right now. I’ll be applying to UCLA, Stanford, Rice and WSU. A degree in electrical engineering would be applicable in the Navy. The Naval Academy brings an excellence in education like no other. They train you not only mentally but also physically. That’s appealing to me. It’ll make my whole character better. And I’ve also always kind of wanted to serve my country. But first I need a congressional nomination from Suzan DelBene. So if she’s reading this article …
Q: I’m sure she’s got Google Alerts.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.