Mariner High senior Lisa Rakuro also takes classes at the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center. She wants to pursue a trade. “I’m not a person to sit behind a desk.” (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mariner High senior Lisa Rakuro also takes classes at the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center. She wants to pursue a trade. “I’m not a person to sit behind a desk.” (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

‘Keep pushing,’ be respectful: Life lessons as a soccer coach

Lisa Rakuro, 17, of Mariner High School has lived in Fiji, California and Snohomish County.

EVERETT — Lisa Rakuro, 17, is a senior at Mariner High School and the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center. She also volunteers as a soccer coach at Hand in Hand, a nonprofit on Casino Road.

Question: What brought you to the Sno-Isle construction program?

Answer: I’ve always wanted to do woodworking. … It just seems fun to put stuff together.

Q: Why do you volunteer?

A: Hand in Hand has helped me in a lot of things. Without them, I wouldn’t be here, so I just like to give back to the community.

Q: How did Hand in Hand come into your life?

A: I came to America as a minor. I didn’t know anyone. I was in California first and didn’t really know how to speak English … I didn’t have anyone there to be with me, and it was really hard for me to be talking to people. I was really antisocial … When I moved up to Washington, Hand in Hand was the first place that got me into being more active … and trying to help people who were in my place.

Q: Any big plans for senior year?

A: Graduate and go to college.

Q: What do you want to study?

A: I really want to look into a trade … I’m not a person to sit behind a desk.

Q: What are you learning in class?

A: We’re building flower planters for the Mariner craft fair. I’ve been learning the different types of hand working tools and the power tools and OSHA safety.

Q: You speak three languages?

A: I speak fluent Fijian. I partially know Maori, and now I speak English.

Q: And you lived in Fiji?

A: It’s tropical, and people say Hawaii’s better, but I would say Fiji’s better. They only have one climate down there. It’s pretty much just sunny.

Q: How does your Fijian culture influence your life?

A: It’s pretty complicated. Most of the things in Fiji are still in the old ways. There’s a lot of rules you have to follow. … Coming to America is a total different way … You can’t really follow what’s back at Fiji. You come and you adopt to the new lifestyle.

Q: What’s your favorite book?

A: “The Heart Needs No Words” by Cindy Locke. It’s a real life story. She wrote a book about one kid that she adopted that ended up having cancer … It’s a really touching book. I don’t normally read, but that book only took me two days to finish.

Q: What do you like about soccer?

A: It helps get my mind off stress, and it helps me build bonds with people.

Q: What have you learned from the family with whom you were placed?

A: I don’t have a huge burden to make my own decisions. They’ll be there for me.

Q: What else do you want to do?

A: I also do want to go play soccer in college. That’s also hard because I really want to go to Cascadia … but also Edmonds (Community College) has a really good soccer team, so I’m debating real hard.

Q: What else do you do for fun?

A: I like to build things. Sometimes I like to fix my bike … I build a lot of stuff … (In a past class) I would take blocks and just build it up. I would build cubes for some reason. Cubes are really interesting to me.

Q: How do you have time for homework?

A: Sometimes I take the laptop to coaching. That 20-30 minute drive, I would do my homework online … Dad’s driving, I’m doing homework, just hoping he won’t go through a speed bump.

Q: What do you like about Mariner?

A: The diversity, the teachers and there’s just something about Mariner that’s different. … The teachers help you and they’re really involved and they want you to be somewhere (in life) and they push your limits.

Q: What would you tell other young people who face challenges?

A: Keep pushing.

Q: What do you tell the kids you coach?

A: My coach would want me to have the right attitude when I grow up so I can teach it to my little kids … Just being respectful. One thing I stress at my practices that I run is the kids being on time and just having the right mindset to learn.

Q: What is the strength of your generation? How are you going to change the world?

A: Mostly, we’re not … Our parents, aren’t they called Millennials? While we’re exposed to more technology, we learn more about our parents and their past. We’re able to put that in mind and just be better than what they did or just try to keep up with what they did.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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