Granite Falls High School senior Maia Whitley uses her programming knowledge to help with the district’s annual food drive and is planning on studying computer science in college. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Granite Falls High School senior Maia Whitley uses her programming knowledge to help with the district’s annual food drive and is planning on studying computer science in college. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Granite Falls student’s advice: ‘get involved’

She went from playing video games to building her own computers and creating a food drive database.

GRANITE FALLS — Maia Whitley, 18, is a senior at Granite Falls High School. She uses her technological expertise to help her community through the district’s annual food drive, and hopes to go into computer science.

Question: I’ve heard you do quite a bit of community service?

Answer: Starting my sophomore year, I became involved in the Granite Falls School District Food Drive. I just kind of helped out, but junior year I became more officially involved. I interviewed for and received the position of Giving Tree coordinator along with one of my friends, and we were in charge of making sure that all 500 of the kids that we help each year got presents. As a part of that, I transferred how we kept the information for each kid from a spreadsheet to a database. Hopefully they never go back to using the spreadsheet because it was really messy. This year, I was the systems engineer because I created the database. I was also lead student coordinator.

Q: So you’re interested in technology?

A: Yes. I want to do computer science.

Q: What got you into that?

A: Originally I just liked to play video games on the computer with my little brother, and then I started building computers to make better platforms for playing games. I started looking at programming and I became more interested in doing it as a career.

Q: Is there a specific job you want?

A: I have experience with databases, so right now I’m interested in looking at the database aspect of computer science. But, because our school is kind of small, we don’t have a specific computer science class. So I’m also looking into maybe doing something interdisciplinary between computer science and medicine, or computer science and psychology, or computer science and economics. I’ll figure it out when I have more exposure to different things.

Q: Have you decided where you want to go to college?

A: I’m still waiting to hear back from the colleges I applied to.

Q: What are some of the other activities you’re involved in?

A: I’m part of Advanced Multimedia, which makes an announcement video each week for our high school. It helps display some student creativity we have here. I’m part of the lead production crew, so I make sure everything is done on time and help solve problems that arise, just making sure everything is ready on Thursday to be edited and sent off for Friday. And I’m involved in Future Business Leaders of America.

Q: Do you have any hobbies you enjoy outside of school?

A: I like programming, building websites, working with Raspberry Pi’s. I also kind of like cross-stitching and coloring, more stress-relieving artistic activities.

Q: Do you mean actual pies?

A: Raspberry Pi’s are like little computers. It’s like the math symbol, so it’s spelled P-I.

Q: And cross-stitching and coloring? Are those separate from computers?

A: Yeah, that’s all separate. Those are just what they sound like.

Q: Do you have family in the district?

A: My brother (Erich, 16). He’s actually in my physics class. He decided to do the science classes out of order, so he was like, “I’ll take physics at the same time you are.”

Q: What has been the most challenging thing for you?

A: Just finding time for everything. This year I have three AP classes, physics and Spanish 3. Then my extracurriculars, like the food drive, take up a lot of time. Then there’s my other responsibilities, and I have a job … I work at OshKosh B’gosh.

Q: Are you saving up for something?

A: College.

Q: How much do you work?

A: It’s been less because we’re past the peak Christmas season, but I’ve worked anything from five hours a week to 15 or 20. On Black Friday, I stood at a cash register, aside from my break, and I was ringing people up for seven hours. I’ve learned things from retail, like more communication skills.

Q: What would your advice be for other students?

A: Get involved and don’t procrastinate. My high school experience wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t gotten involved in extracurriculars. And as far as procrastination, that’s just never a good idea.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

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