MARYSVILLE — David Samaniego, 17, is a junior at Marysville Getchell High School. The thoughtful young man is handy with a tennis racket as well as a short sword, and has made the most of his school’s small learning community at a time when district administrators are evaluating whether to continue the model.
Question: What are you involved with at school?
Answer: I’m involved in Latin Club, Writing for Publication and in the fall I play tennis.
(Writing for Publication) is the writing club basically. We produce a magazine every year. And we hold poetry slams twice a year and a murder mystery night. I prefer more (to write) stuff you’d find in a paper.
(In Latin Club) we sing Latin songs. We watch a Latin news program. We play Latin bingo. We play this game called Certamen, which is a Latin quiz (and means “contest” in Latin). And we sword fight.
Q: How did sword fighting enter in?
A: It’s Latin Club — it involves aspects of the ancient Roman culture, and sword fighting is part of that. Every year there’s this event called Junior Classical League at Warm Beach. That’s basically a Latin convention, and they have a sword-fighting tournament as part of that. It’s a foam short sword and a shield. It’s very fun. Last year one of our seniors won the sword-fighting tournament.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: Right now I’m taking U.S. history, psychology, (college-level Advanced Placement) lang, AP calc, and chemistry. And Latin. … I’d definitely have to say chemistry is my favorite class because the teacher, Mr. Lefstad, is just out of this world. You really have to have been through him to know what he’s like. But he’s such an excellent teacher, in that he teaches students to think through how to do things themselves. He’s preparing us to go out in the real world and be problem-solvers, people that businesses would want to hire.
Q: Do you have someone who has inspired you or who you look up to as a mentor?
A: My friend, Chris Leonard — he graduated last year. Freshman year he reached out to me. … He was my House head.
Q: What’s a House?
A: Have you read “Harry Potter”? It’s just like that. We have four houses: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta. They competed throughout the year for the House Cup. I’m the Gamma House head this year, actually.
Q: So what do you do as House head?
A: The normal responsibilities of a House head are to be an excellent role model for everyone and to basically meet up and run the House system, lead the prefects who do a lot of the grunt work, and talk with the teachers and administrators.
Q: What are your goals for senior year?
A: I’ve already been looking into colleges. I have a couple of ideas of where I might go. Senior year is going to be all about that —applying to colleges, applying for scholarships… But also for senior year, I want to have fun. Because I have some of my required credits out of the way so I have room for a fun class or two.
Q: What would you take, just for fun?
A: There’s always “Leadership.” I’ve considered “Leadership.” There’s also “Video III” … a group of students that gets together sixth period and after school to produce a full-length feature movie.
Q: What hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
A: I’m in Scouts. I’m currently a Life Scout, the rank below Eagle. My idea (for an Eagle Scout project) is to build bat boxes for parks. The most difficult thing about an Eagle Scout project is the paperwork — there’s a lot of it.
And I enjoy the things that come with Scouts — hiking, backpacking, biking.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3432.