LYNNWOOD — Lynnwood High School senior Venecia Lucio, 17, is a student leader who has led several fundraisers as part of her work with Colores Unidos, which celebrates Latino and Spanish-speaking cultures, including a benefit for hurricane relief that raised more than $1,400.
Question: How long have you been an ASB officer?
Answer: It’s my first year. As treasurer, I count the money and make sure the school’s money is balanced with everything else. I have to sign off on a lot of paperwork.
Q: What’s your first class?
A: I teacher assist for (honors) pre-calculus. Actually math is one of my weaknesses. So for me to get help through that, I talked to my pre-calc teacher about getting extra help. So he does honors pre-calculus first period and then I take regular pre-calc fourth period just so I could have everything in my head two times. Because I do believe that math is important for my future and for college.
Q: Does that make being treasurer difficult?
A: Counting money, making sure we’re in the right budget, and just balancing — that doesn’t scare me. But pre-calculus math, that puts a lot of pressure on me.
At home it’s my mom and two siblings. I’m the oldest. They look up to me. And my mom has standards and expectations I need to meet. I do put a lot of pressure on myself to meet those expectations. I try to make my mom proud, keeping my grades to A’s and B’s. For the past three years of high school math was always my weakness. So I always tried extra hard in my math classes. She understood that it’s hard for me. I would go get help and tutoring. I still would end math with a C, but I did work hard for that grade and she sees it.
Q: You are a musician.
A: I’ve been involved in music since fifth grade. … Whenever I play jazz music, I go into a different world. Music is important to me. I know I’m important, but once I’m in the music classes, I feel like I have a big role — which I do; I play lead alto (saxophone). I feel that music has created a part of me, like — what’s the word — like I am more independent. With music you don’t get good just blowing out a note. You have to put in work and practice, and it’s not easy.
Q: You say leadership class has helped you in a similar way.
A: My freshman year I wanted to run for ASB. But I was very shy. In middle school I was open and talked to a lot of different people but once I hit high school it was a different world and I doubted myself. So I just kind of like put myself down and said “OK, I’m just going to follow the crowd.”
Q: Two seniors helped you gain confidence and run for treasurer.
A: They were very supportive. I guess I felt better about myself, knowing that I will take someone else’s place who was successful. I know if they can do it, then I can do it.
Q: What else do you do, outside of school?
A: Well, I am the oldest. I have a 14-year-old brother. He is in middle school at Alderwood. He is very involved in sports, so that means I get to be the Uber. And same with my sister. She is 4 years old, she goes to preschool. I help a lot with that part because my mom works for all of us. I help my mom out a lot with babysitting or taking care of my sister, and making sure my brother does his things and making sure I’m guiding him right through life. … Sometimes I act like his second mom, because of how much we’ve grown together… My mom made sure we stuck together and always have each others’ backs. …
Our childhood was not a usual childhood. We had to move house to house. … It wasn’t until maybe a year after my dad left where we had a stable home, and felt safe. So that was a struggle. It still is, but not as much as it used to be.
Q: Do you feel you look at life differently than your peers because of that?
A: I feel like I do, only because I have a really big heart to a lot of people. When I see someone hurting or when I see people that need help or my friends where I know they could do better — I always offer to help, I always try and fix things. (On the other hand) I tried to do things on my own and not ask for help. … This year is when I realized I need to stop being stubborn and actually ask for help. I feel that’s the reason where I’m at.
Q: There’s a middle school bilingual leadership summit held each year at LHS. You help with that, but you also were part of it.
A: One of my mentors in life right now is Ellen Conley (from Alderwood Middle School), and in middle school she gave me paperwork to go to La Chispa leadership summit. I went and I was mind-blown. It was seventh grade, and it was my first time being exposed to so many things. (After attending again in eighth grade) I was like OK, this is great, we need to do something. How about we start a club? It was a really good outcome. … Since that, that’s when I knew that that’s one of my passions — helping people out, not just Latinos or Hispanics, but everyone who is willing to put in time to get help and things.
It wasn’t until my junior year — it took me two years to get out of my comfort zone — I joined the Colores Unidos here at school. … Now I’m actually a leader, a mentor to middle schoolers. I was like, whoa, this is happening! My middle school year I thought those kids were really cool and really important, and now I’m going to be one of those kids.
Q: Also through Colores Unidos, you put on a fundraiser for hurricane relief in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
A: I’m like OK, we got this, let’s do this. There were many obstacles that came in our way and that was very stressful. But when I want something good to happen, I don’t let those obstacles get in my way. I find a way to go around it, over it, through it — something — because this is not just important to me but to the community.
Q: How does it feel to be at this stage in life?
A: It feels like I didn’t think I’d be where I’m at right now, only because — I guess this is for everyone. When you’re a freshman, you doubt yourself a lot. I never thought I’d be in ASB. I never thought I’d be important in music. I never thought that I would make an impact at Lynnwood High School through Colores Unidos. I guess it just amazes me, because I know what I can do now.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3432.