MUKILTEO — Aaron Anzalone, 18, is a senior at Kamiak High School. He says he’s found a niche for himself this year in public speaking, whether it’s in front of the camera for a weekly student-produced show or in front of crowds. He also can be seen participating in leadership activities, swimming at the school’s pool or hanging out with friends.
Question: What’re you up to these days?
Answer: I’m in an advanced visual communications class and every Friday we put together a show, think a YouTube 10-minute video. We have a newsroom and a studio. We film and have different anchors that rotate. I’m one of the anchors. And we have two features in each show. I’m a part of that. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback being anchor this year.
Q: How would you describe your anchor style?
A: I definitely go for the relaxed, funny aspect. My friend, the other anchor, he’s a little more serious type. We play off each other.
Also, I’m in leadership class. Basically what that class is is all the behind the scenes of our high school. We put together dances and events, and we’re always volunteering, like when people need help.
More than just doing things, it’s also about being a leader. My teacher, I like her a lot, she sends a lot of good messages about helping people, and making yourself go outside of your comfort zone. I’ve learned a lot from being in the class.
Ever since the end of last year I’ve been busy, busy, busy doing stuff. We just had homecoming. The Friday before homecoming I was here 18 hours out of the day. We were here until 12 a.m., just setting up. It feels really good to put back into the school.
Q: How have you gone outside of your comfort zone?
A: Before near the end of last year, I was just doing enough to get by. I was passing my classes, but I wasn’t really doing my best. I was staying out of trouble.
Then, I decided, I’m only going to be in high school one year and I really should make the most out of my time. I really like the idea, too, of meeting new people, and through all these things I’ve done the past six months or so I’ve met so many new people.
At the end of last year we had our senior farewell assembly. We had a leadership group chat, and someone was like, does anyone want to give a speech about our librarian because she’s retiring? I just wanted the experience, I wanted to put myself out there and do this, so I was like, “Yeah, I’ll do it.” I asked lots of teachers about her, and I wrote up a two-page script, threw in a cheesy quote.
Q: Was that your first public speaking experience?
A: Yeah, I think so. That was my first in front of a lot of people.
Q: Do you get nervous at all doing that?
A: I don’t know, I do get nervous, it’s never something where it stops me. Some people are like, I’m so nervous, I can’t do that. Me, it’s just like something in the back of my head.
The homecoming assembly (that I MC’d) was a lot harder though, it’s a lot different … everyone was loud and rambunctious and there was lots going on. We had problems. There was one game we had, and it ended up being too rambunctious, and we had to shut it down.
Q: Do you have any interests outside of school?
A: I like to swim. I have a heart disease, and I can’t play contact sports. So I’ve never been a big sports person.
Especially in the last year I’ve found myself just enjoying hanging out with my friends. I’ve just really been spending a lot of time with my friends. The other day I was home alone and I was like, this feels weird. It’s because I wasn’t out with my friends doing something. So I guess I’m just trying to make the most of my time before graduating.
Also I like playing video games, stereotypical.
Q: What video game are you playing?
A: Super Smash Bros. a lot, lately.
Q: Is there anything else our readers should know about you?
A: This story comes to my mind. I feel like it embodies my personality a little bit. After I did the homecoming assembly, I was a little bummed afterward, because I feel like it could’ve gone better. There’s always room for improvement. We were just cleaning up bleachers and picking up trash, and I found this fortune cookie fortune, and it said, “life can only be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.” And I was like whoa. I always say this thing to my friends, you can’t change the past, only the future.
It embodied my personality. In the past I haven’t been the best student. … Now I feel like I’ve changed, going forward.
Q: Did you keep the fortune?
A: Yes I did, it’s thumb-tacked above my bed. Right next to — when I got into leadership, they gave me a letter saying you got in, so I have that right next to my bed, too.