Nathan Nicholson, 17, is a senior at Snohomish High School, where he keeps very busy running social media as a student leader.
Question: You’re in student leadership. How long have you been doing that for?
Answer: Freshman year I came in here. I didn’t really know anyone — I had probably five friends; I came from another school district. Then the ASB president back then … came into my first period class and said a teacher nominated you. That’s how I got into student government.
Q: You’re now the public information officer. What’s that?
A: So now I’m here and running the school app, I’m running all the social media. We introduced the app last year, SHS Connect.
Q: You’ve done videos, too, I understand?
A: Last year, Mr. Cahan (the principal) came to me and said, “OK, I want a video … that introduces our pride, professionalism, respect, integrity, dedication and equality.”
So Mr. Ivelia gave me stacks full of probably 10 years’ past of homecoming CDs. OK, crazy. It was like three hours each, so I was fast-forwarding and it was my summer. … So I took some clips that we had and made a video that expresses our pride for our school as well as the fun side, the football side.
I think we did about 12 different versions of this video, so it took a long time to get it honed in. … But I think it was all worth it. It went on the first-day assembly, and it was awesome.
Q: What else demands your time?
A: I love to do community service. As a sophomore I got a community service letter, and I’m working on one my senior year, too. Right now I think I have about 120 hours. I also just started coaching rec soccer, which is a lot of fun. I am a WyldLife leader, which is associated with Young Life; we plan clubs for middle-schoolers and we’ll go to camp with them at the end of the year. I go to a lot of sporting events — I love to support our school. … I’m a DECA officer, too, so I help make decisions on that.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: So this year I’m taking (college-level Advanced Placement) environmental science; I’m taking AP statistics, advanced leadership; I’m in DECA entrepreneurship — it’s like the student store; AP government; and mythology.
Q: You’re taking a tough class load.
A: Yeah, some days are harder than others. It will be challenging. But I am really driven. I’ll do my homework no matter what the time of night — which is maybe not the best thing in the world, but, yeah. I strive to be the best I can be. I push myself.
Q: Why is that important to you?
A: I’ve never asked myself that. Well, the first thing that comes to mind is college. I want to get into a good college. Second is, Who do I want to be? I don’t want to be somebody who isn’t driven. I want to be someone who gets the job done. That’s what I’m teaching myself with homework. Homework is my job. School is my job right now.
Q: Do you know where you want to go for college?
A: I’m applying to a large scheme of colleges, everything from (Grand Canyon University) to Cal Poly. Cal Poly is definitely my No. 1. I definitely want to go into their engineering school.
Q: What types of engineering are you eying?
A: Definitely either bio-engineering or computer engineering, with a minor in entrepreneurship or business because I want to own my own business some day. The future is biotech. That’s what my grandparents always told me.
Q: So what is it like, being at this stage in life?
A: It’s kind of scary, to be honest. Not knowing is something I don’t like. I’m just doing my job right now, trying to make an impact at my school as much as I can before I head out.
Q: What’s your GPA?
A: 3.98. I’ve had three A-minuses. … My Spanish teacher, actually, freshman year gave me an A-minus, first semester. And she was like, well, at least you don’t have to worry about getting a 4.0 the rest of the year. I still remember that… And that’s so true. I don’t strive to be perfect. Failing then, it was like I didn’t have to worry about getting a 4.0 but just being the best person I can.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I look for different things to put in SHS Connect. It’s just my luck. I like doing that for the school. I love to ride my bike. I like to hike — love the outdoors. We’ve done an overnight hike, just me and two other buddies to a couple lakes up in the Cascades and it was one of the best experiences. It’s very calming for me just to go out there.
I also got a drone a couple years ago. I use my drone all the time, and have gotten a few jobs off it.
Q: What about family?
A: I have two sisters. One is at Northwest University. One is an eighth-grader at Centennial Middle School. We’re currently building a house for our grandparents in our back yard, so that will be fun, inviting them into our lives like that, closer to us. It’s very exciting for me. I love spending time with my grandparents.
Q: It sounds like your grandparents are mentors for you.
A: I definitely look up to all my grandparents. … One of my grandpas, he’s the one who got me started on technology. My other grandpa, he used to build ships for the Navy and he was an engineer like that. So I want to take those and combine them … And can’t forget the grandmas. My grandmas are so sweet. They always bring me food. I just love them to death.
Melissa Slager: email@example.com, 425-339-3432.