BOTHELL — North Creek High School will graduate its first senior class next year. Junior T.J. Ingersoll, 16, is helping lead the way for the Class of 2019.
Question: You’re involved in student leadership and building up that first senior class. What’s it like?
Answer: It can be stressful at times. It takes a lot to build up a climate and culture at a brand-new school. But it’s fun. We’re trying to focus on little things this year. We did this cool new thing called North Creek Rocks. We painted rocks with compliments on them and hid them around school like Easter eggs. We have students coming from every junior high school, every high school in the (Northshore School) District. So trying to get them all to come together and create a climate that’s positive and welcoming for everyone.
Q: What does that mean in teenager terms?
A: For your average high school teen, it probably just means it’s going to be cool to show up to school. The first few months it was really easy, because it was a brand-new school. But that doesn’t last. After awhile, it’s just school. We have to find new ways to make it exciting.
Q: Do you feel you’ve accomplished that goal?
A: No, not yet. There’s a lot of work we can do to make our culture better. Every once in awhile we catch a glimpse of what it could be and what it’s slowly starting to become. At the moment, it’s still all a mix of people from all different schools and doing their own thing.
Q: Can you give an example of one of those glimpses?
A: I walk around the hallways a lot, and every once in awhile you’ll see people high-five each other or give someone a hug to someone they know, and that’s cool to see. And rarely you’ll see someone say hi to someone they don’t know, and that’s kind of what we’re trying to get.
Q: What’s one of your favorite activities?
A: Our premiere party at the start of the year was pretty good. That was our first big dance. It was our replacement for homecoming, because homecoming’s when seniors come back and we don’t have any.
My favorite part was probably over the summer. We had work parties for ASB. … My group was focused on writing our ASB constitution. We read through probably about 30 different constitutions I’d guess from some of the biggest high schools in our state. We took some of the best ideas. I liked Glacier Peak’s constitution.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: I’m taking (college-level Advanced Placement) prep pre-calc, I’m taking AP language, ASB class of course, photography, chemistry and U.S. history. Next year I’m going to take four AP classes… I’m wondering a bit about how that will go, but it should be fine.
Q: Have you thought about your post-high school plans?
A: I want to go into a Coast Guard academy. The academies have definitely been on my mind. I applied to a camp to tour the Coast Guard Academy over the summer, and the Navy.
Q: What’s the draw there?
A: My grandpa was in the Navy, so my mom knew a lot of the benefits that go into the military. More and more, it felt like something I should do. Get the benefits I need and be able to serve my country, while still getting a good education along the way.
Q: Do you have any mentors or people who have inspired you?
A: I go to a lot of leadership camps, and there are a lot of speakers who really connect with me. At the high school, though, my ASB advisor Naudia Bosch. She helps me organize my ideas a lot and reminds me we have to do stuff with a purpose.
Q: What advice would you give someone starting high school?
A: I’d probably give them the classic piece of advice that every person in high school ASB … I know has given, which is that it’s more fun when you’re involved. That sounds typical, but it’s true. You’ll make new friends. You’ll feel a part of school. High school will be more fun. It will be more than just hurry and finish up my four years.
Q: This area is rapidly growing. Do you see that?
A: We’ve definitely noticed the growth a lot. Our development was one of the new suburb developments they put in. When we moved in, where this high school was now was just a field, a meadow with a few trees on it. We were one of the only neighborhoods out here. Now, 12 years later, you look around and you see houses everywhere.
… It’s cool sometimes to just stop and think for a second that you’re standing in a brand-new high school, part of the first graduating class of a high school that two years ago wasn’t even there or six years ago wasn’t even in the thought to be there, and there you are, just standing there.
Melissa Slager: email@example.com; 425-339-3432.