Everett High School’s Michael Larson has made it his goal to help every student at school feel included. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Everett High School’s Michael Larson has made it his goal to help every student at school feel included. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Michael Larson, Everett High School: Gonzaga bound

The Future is Now

This is one of a series of profiles of noteworthy Snohomish County high school graduates: Michael Larson, Everett (Gonzaga) Arianna Calvin, Kamiak, and Tholen Blasko, Sultan (WSU) • Hayden Davis, Lake Stevens (Harvard)Peter Faber, Snohomish and Academy NW (US Naval Academy)Naomi Lee, Kamiak (UW)Aurelio Valdez-Barajas, Mariner (SPU)

EVERETT — When Michael Larson came to Everett High School for freshman orientation, he had a ready-made role model in his older brother, Jacob, who had been active in the student government for his entire high school career.

“He took me in the back of the auditorium and as we walked in, all the leadership kids saw him and said, ‘Jacob!’ and ran up to give him hugs,” Larson said.

Larson decided to follow his brother’s example and became class president for each of his first three years of high school. As a senior, he’s the president of the student body for the entire school.

He’s also a standout athlete, playing varsity baseball and tennis, and is looking to graduate with an A average. He plans to attend Gonzaga University in the fall.

As a junior he was chosen for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s LEAP Board, which selects students who exemplify athletic, academic and leadership success to provide input on WIAA activities. He’s also involved with the Torch Honors Society and the Rotary-sponsored Interact Club.

This year, Larson led the ASB in making a video for new students that explains the school’s nickname as the “School of Champions.” His goal this year was to make sure every student felt welcome at school.

“A one-on-one interaction is so important. I’ve really made it a goal to make it all about the small things,” he said.

That’s meant a lot of holding doors for others, saying “good morning,” giving high-fives, and asking new students’ names.

Larson noticed one boy had been sitting outside alone during lunch every day. He introduced himself to him and learned the student had social anxiety that made hanging out difficult.

“That kind of hit me pretty hard right in the heart,” he said.

The student liked video games and was saving up for a Nintendo 2DS, so Larson proposed to the other ASB members to chip in and buy the system for him. They gave it to him with a card.

“That extraordinary act of kindness was done without prompting from teachers or other school leaders, but came from Michael’s desire to reach all students and let them know that Everett High School is a place where all are welcome and all are an important part of the community,” Principal Lance Balla wrote in an email.

Larson credits a number of mentors for his success, including Jacob, former ASB president Trever Tuck, his youth pastor at New Life Church, and his leadership teacher, Rachelle Waller.

“And also, having a really solid group of friends. It’s nice knowing that people and friends have my back,” he said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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