Jackson High’s Leah Shin has the drive and spirit to achieve her goals

MILL CREEK — Leah Shin, 18, recently was given a Prudential Spirit of Community Award for her work at the school establishing Literacy for Love, which collects books for children in need.

Question: What sparked your interest in volunteer work?

Answer: I used to be really quiet, but my 7th grade English teacher told me to apply for the Mill Creek Youth Advisory Board. I meet with other teens and people who are interested in volunteering. I’ve been on the board for six years and worked on a Kids’ Fun Run, the Mill Creek Festival, teen egg hunts, we bought toys for Swedish Hospital for children, and I testified before the Parks and Recreation Board on where to build a new park.

Q: How did this turn into your drive to lead projects?

A: I think the realization was when I became an officer. I got to see when senior high school cool kids led us. Being able to switch seats and lead a meeting, and talk about ideas, and see things actually get done.

That’s when I realized I wanted to get more involved in the community.

Q: How did the Spirit of Community award come about?

A: I ran for Associated Student Body all four years of high school, but in my freshman and sophomore years I wasn’t elected. I needed to do something to take my mind off it. My sophomore year I came up with this idea for Literacy for Love (literacyforlove.weebly.com). I had an older friend, kind of like my mentor . She was a junior. When I became a junior I established Literacy for Love as an official club. And then I was elected to ASB as secretary.

Q: Where did the idea come from?

A: When I was an ESL student I was put in English Language Learner classes. It was a requirement for all students who spoke a second language at home. For me that was Korean. I could speak English pretty fluently, but in the class I could see a need to be addressed. We had 80 students join Literacy for Love in the very first meeting.

Q: Did that take a lot of organization to get off the ground?

A: I used my marketing skills and conducted outreach to seven different schools and collected $50,000 worth of books, about 6,000 books, and we got them into kids’ hands who needed them most. We only expected to gather 3,000 books. I actually was very worried that we were not going to get enough. I made a website that had a lot of information about what we were looking for. I made flyers, posters, and we decorated boxes with bright paper so that it’s fun for kids to donate. We had a pizza competition for the classroom that collected the most books.

Q: Do you have much time for other activities?

A: I like being busy. Right now I’m senior class president, which is fun because I get to plan prom. Also I’m on the Technology Students Association. I did the Project Green Challenge, collecting cans and composting. I did Model UN. I’m also varsity captain of the golf team. I try practicing six hours every day.

Q: How do you have time for school work then?

A: I do homework there at the Columbia Super Range.

Q: What do you like about golf?

A: I realized that golf is really a fun sport and underrated. It’s kind of soothing because you concentrate. My dad plays golf so it’s kind of been with me since I was younger. I also volunteer with Special Olympics of golf, so that was kind of neat, helping other kids with their swing and putt.

Q: Do all your activities overwhelm you a bit?

A: I just made myself be positive, be practical about it. It’s my goal in senior year, to try everything. You have to fail to succeed.

Q: What are your college plans?

A: I want to go to the UW’s Foster School of Business to pursue a degree in marketing or consulting, maybe with a minor like nonprofit management. I go there once a month for Young Executives of Color. We get to learn business skills and meet CEOs and managers of companies like Amazon and Ernst &Young.

Q: What draws you to business?

A: I’m not really into the sciences. I’m more into being creative, technology, STEM subjects and business. It’s like finding creative solutions for real-world problems, that’s how I see it.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

42 test positive for COVID-19 at Whidbey Island nursing home

The Coupeville facility’s 49 residents and 100 staff members have all been tested for the virus.

Hospitalized prisoner tests positive for COVID-19

He had been transported to a Snohomish County medical center for unrelated concerns.

Man shot to death in yard after alleged parking-spot dispute

A Lynnwood man was arrested for investigation of second-degree murder, with bail set at $1 million.

Tenant allegedly killed Everett landlord, but no body found

Police said the 67-year-old man is presumed dead. A 40-year-old man was arrested.

1 seriously injured in car crash in Lake Stevens

Firefighters had to remove two people from wreckage Sunday night on Lundeen Parkway.

Man accused in 100 mph chase: He was teaching a dog to drive

Troopers chased his car from Marysville to Arlington — then onto the Centennial Trail.

Stop flushing wipes, facial tissue, paper towels, cities beg

Coronavirus prompted a run on them. But they’re wreaking havoc on utilities across Snohomish County.

Comments welcome on the proposed Lake Stevens Costco

The company’s permit to fill wetlands is under review. Public comment is open until April 12.

Watch Gov. Jay Inslee’s Monday news conference here

He is expected to discuss enforcement of his stay-home order.

Most Read