MUKILTEO — Kate Neumeister, 18, looks forward to graduating this month from Kamiak High School and pursuing a career as a nurse. In 2017, she was named the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County’s Youth of the Year.
Question: What classes are you taking?
Answer: Anatomy. Then I have forensics and cooking, (college-level Advanced Placement) government, calculus and then regular English.
Q: What’s your favorite class?
A: I really like anatomy … I find it really interesting — the human body and all that, how we work and function.
Q: How long have you known you wanted to be a nurse?
A: A long time, actually. My cousin, he had cancer. We started doing the Big Climb. My aunt is a nurse and our team was full of my aunt’s co-workers, all nurses. So I got to know the field. Eventually, I want to be a nurse practitioner.
Q: What is it about nursing that appeals to you?
A: I knew I wanted to go into health studies for a long time. But nursing also is the compassion side. I’ve had friends in the hospital. They talk about the nurses, not the doctors. It’s cool that you can help them through a difficult time.
Q: So where are you going after graduation?
A: Seattle University. I’m really excited for the program. They have a nice clinical lab and work with Swedish right up the road. It’s right on “pill hill,” so you have all the internships and things available to you.
Q: Does it make high school easier, knowing your path?
A: It’s a lot easier. I don’t have to think about the future now. I can focus on finishing high school. And I knew to focus on taking more difficult math and science classes.
Q: What are some things you do outside of school?
A: I’m coaching a volleyball team, third and fourth grade, at Alderwood Boys & Girls Club (in Lynnwood). I used to play there. I work a lot, at Chick-fil-A. I’m pretty focused on school stuff now.
Q: That sounds like quite the task, coaching a group of young volleyball players.
A: It’s not competitive at all. It’s fun. Most of the kids came in not knowing anything. So it’s been fun to see how far they’ve come and improved.
Q: Is there anything you like to do just for you?
A: Whenever I have time alone, I just decompress and read, watch movies. I really like to go to beaches. “Let’s go to the beach and watch the sunset” — that’s my go-to. Sometimes I go alone.
Q: Do you have anyone you look up to or who has inspired you?
A: He works at the Alderwood Boys and Girls Club: Evens (Henry, the teen director). He moved here from Haiti 15 or 20 years ago. He works a lot and sends money back to his family. He’s a strong individual, and someone I can look to. He’s had such a hard life, but he’s one of the funniest people I know and super laid-back.
Q: I presume you got involved at Boys & Girls Club through your dad, an area director with the organization?
A: He’s one of the reasons I started going there. But it grew on me, you could say.
Q: In the announcement of your Youth of the Year award last year, one of the staff members wrote: “She demonstrates kindness and maturity beyond her years.” What’s important to you, in how you try to present yourself to others?
A: I feel like just compassion. That’s a word I kind of try to strive for — in nursing and in life. Not a lot of people think about that, I feel. It’s something I think about a lot.
Q: What advice would you give a teen just starting high school?
A: For me at least, I found some of the best friends just randomly. Be open to new people and new ideas. Go in with an open mind.
Q: As you look back on high school, what stands out?
A: It’s definitely not the peak of my life, and I’m happy with that. I’ve worked a lot and learned a lot about myself. But I know I’m moving up. It’s helped define me, but there’s still more to find out. It’s the start.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3432.