EVERETT — One day Devan Page hopes to be a lawyer.
Three years ago, she started therapy for anxiety. She’s confronted it through public speaking and serving as a student representative for the Mukilteo School Board.
As a sophomore, she transferred from Kamiak High School to ACES, a much smaller, alternative school in south Everett.
This week Devan turns 18. She’s on pace to graduate in June.
Question: How are things different at ACES?
Answer: Everyone here knows each other, because it’s 200 people roughly. So it’s more kind of family. It’s sophomores, juniors, seniors and super seniors. We have a lot of credit recovery classes so everyone can get up (to speed).
Q: Is that something you had to do?
A: Yes. My freshman year, I did not do so well. So once I went here, I did a lot of credit recovery. Then I did extra classes. I did a lot of senior classes my junior year. This year I’m just doing small electives.
Q: What drew you to political science?
A: I’ve always sucked at history class, really bad. And then something clicked this year with AP Government, where I’m really doing good. I love it. So it’s interesting learning about it — everything’s constantly changing.
Q: You’ve served as a student rep on the school board. Has that influenced your understanding of politics?
A: It was kind of interesting being on a board of people and listening to people come in and speak out, and their viewpoints, and how it contradicts others.
Q: Would you ever want to be president?
A: No. God, no.
Q: Where do you want to go to college?
A: I want to go to a community college in Nevada, at CSN (the College of Southern Nevada), and then get my AA there, and transfer hopefully to UNLV. But if that doesn’t work out, Washington schools.
A: My boyfriend lives there. We’ve been dating for three years.
Q: What are some of the issues that you care about, politically or legally?
A: Safety is a big one. Women’s rights is a big one. And the whole immigration thing going on, and how it’s affecting a lot of people that I know personally.
Q: Do you have a favorite historical figure, or someone you look up to?
A: Does David Bowie count?
Q: I think so. What’s your favorite Bowie album?
A: You can’t do this to me. All of them.
Q: Do you play an instrument?
A: I DJ. My mom owns her own business, a DJ company. So since I was 9, I’ve been going to weddings, high schools, middle schools, colleges, corporate events.
Q: What do you like about DJing?
A: I like seeing everyone so happy, when you play Madonna, and everyone runs out so excited. That’s my favorite thing, making people’s day.
Q: And have you done gigs?
A: Lots, lots, lots. We did like over 300 in one year.
Q: Wow. What’s your go-to song to get everybody going?
A: OK, “Shut Up and Dance” is such an easy one. Older people always like ’80s stuff. They get excited when you play, like, “Africa,” by Toto. That’s the one that gets everybody singing. Or “Down Under.”
Q: What do you look forward to about being an adult?
A: (Sigh.) Getting dogs. Having pets.
Q: What kind of dogs do you want?
A: All of them. All dogs. I used to have bulldogs for a long time, and now I just have a Persian cat and a tabby cat and a lizard. So I want a St. Bernard really bad and pugs and Shih Tzus. I want the whole nine. I don’t discriminate.
Q: Do you have a dog right now?
A: No. I really wish. My stepdad’s allergic.
Q: Do you want to talk about any personal challenges you’ve dealt with outside of school?
A: I have really bad anxiety. I’ve been going to therapy for like three years for it. Public speaking has been a really big thing. So when I was on the school board, that was scary. And my dad recently died, like, a few weeks ago. I literally came back to school two days after the funeral, and I was like, ‘I can do this.’
Q: Are you doing OK?
A: I’m doing OK. It’s a rollercoaster.
Q: Do you have a teacher or mentor who has helped you along?
A: Honestly, all the teachers here. Ms. Collins has been a big one. Mr. Kearney, major one. And Ms. Shirley (Tune), who recently retired. She has a place in my heart. Love her.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: Sleep. I DJ. I do photo booths for weddings. I dog sit. That’s my only way to see dogs.
Q: What would you like to tell yourself as a seventh grader?
A: Stop being so scared of other people. Stop trying to conform to others. Just be yourself. Do what you want. Get your homework done. Don’t fail freshman year.
Q: Were you ever at the point where you thought, ‘Oh, crap, I might not graduate’?
A: That’s how I was at Kamiak. I was very nervous. They have, like, more than 30 people in a class. Here, it’s like 10, 15. So it’s more one-on-one. If any of the teachers here know you’re struggling a little bit, they will literally stay after school till 8 o’clock at night to help you and make sure you get it done, and they’re very motivating. I was worried about that at Kamiak, because I tried to stay after school, but there were so many people there. So I never could. That’s when I thought I was going to fail. Then I came here. Everything got better.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; email@example.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.