EVERETT — Kya Nethercot, 17, is a senior at Mariner High School and editor in chief of the student newspaper, The Mariner Compass. She was an active supporter of the recent Mukilteo School District election bond measure.
Kya spent much of her life in Kansas. Her family moved to Washington last summer to be closer to her grandparents, who live in Marysville and Lake Stevens. Her younger brother and sister are also students at Mariner. They live with their aunt and cousins in Woodinville in a house with 14 people total.
Question: What’s it like living with 14 people?
Answer: It’s always busy. It’s a very lively place to live. We’re all bunked up.
I spend a lot of time with my little cousins. They really like to have me paint their fingernails, even the only boy. He wants them Seahawks colors. One time I thought I had put all of the bottles up high but I had missed one. He painted himself, all over his stomach, hands and face. And it was all over the couch.
They just got chinchillas.
Q: Those are wild critters.
A: Kids are wild critters, too.
Q: How was moving here as a senior?
A: I had to meet all new people. You have to make new friends and build new connections with teachers. There were parts of my family I’d never met. It is unique having extended family now, family outside my immediate family. That’s something we never really had much of in Kansas.
Q: Why do you go to Mariner instead of a school in Woodinville?
A: There was a low-income living option we were looking into (in Everett) and we got almost all the way through the process and then that situation fell through.
Q: Want your GPA in the story?
A: Yes, I wouldn’t mind it — 3.963. Unweighted.
Q: That election bond issue barely passed. What was that like?
A: The first day they tallied the votes, I was super nervous. My heart just sunk. I was so worried it wouldn’t get through. It barely passed.
Q: Where do you want to go to college?
A: University of Washington, because it’s close to home. I’ll probably stay at home. My second option is Washington State. Western Washington is third.
A: Three fields: political science, psychology, and journalism. I am going to get a degree in all three, but don’t know which will be majors and minors.
Q: Why journalism?
A: I want to make a difference.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’ve been doing a lot of research on school policy issues. I just enjoy covering policy issues. My first three years in high school I was involved in policy debate.
Q: What is so exciting about policy?
A: Imagining the positive changes we could see in the future. I want to see how it affects people and it helps students.
Q: A lot of students really don’t care about policy stuff, right? Or adults, for that matter.
A: I found that a lot of indifference comes from lack of understanding of it. Once you explain how it affects them they do become invested.
Q: If you could change one policy at your school, what would it be?
A: We are seeing a shocking decline in student mental health. A lot of increased suicides and shootings. There is a lot of pressure on students that didn’t exist socially before. In order to help students survive we need to give students time in order to get their head back together.
I feel like we are stepping in the right direction as far as mental health policy goes at our school. I think statewide we should allow student mental health days.
Currently there are sick days, right, so you have to be physically ill to call in. Students go through mental health crises, through anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, and those challenges are de-legitimized. You can’t say, ‘Hey, I am having a panic attack I can’t come in.’ It is invalidated compared to real physical illness. Give them the time to come back and learn without that weight on their back.
Q: If you could interview anyone in the world who would it be?
A: A Supreme Court justice. I don’t have any specific one that I care about more than the other. I just want to learn about the process of making those decisions.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: Write poetry and fantasy.
Q: What’s Kansas like?
A: It’s very flat. Towns are small and usually have quite a bit of distance between them. Lots of farms. Not much to do. You’re lucky if you have a bowling alley in town or a theater.
Q: What do you like here?
A: I really enjoy Pike Place Market. There was a magician, he picked me out. I am not sure why he did. He made cards disappear and made them appear in places they weren’t before and change into different cards.
Q: Do you get a lot of comments about your height?
A: I’m 4-foot-9. I don’t mind it. It’s just kind of the way I am. It’s helped with my agility having to climb up to get what I need.
Q: Favorite show?
A: Black Mirror (a sci-fiction television series) because it shows the possibilities of things that can go wrong in the future if we continue at the rate we are with technology.
Q: What are three things in your refrigerator?
A: A rice tuna spicy thing. We also have fruit punch. And I know the kids have chocolate milk in there.