EVERETT — Devin Zick, 17, a senior at Sequoia High School, bounced back from a family tragedy and is now focused on graduating early and joining the U.S. Army to start a career in nursing.
Question: Why do you want to join the Army?
Answer: I’m joining it so it will pay for my college. But I’m going to be a nurse and a teacher. I’ll get nursing training in the Army. But my top goal is to drive a tank. I like big vehicles, and I (also) want to drive a truck as part of my future.
Q: You’ve been through a family tragedy recently. How has this affected you?
A: In December 2014, my dad shot himself, which caused my mom to try to find this school for me. He didn’t die. He accidentally shot himself in the shoulder. But when they X-rayed him, they found two aneurysms in his brain. One had already bled out. Right after his second brain surgery, he died accidentally.
Q: What inspired you to go into nursing?
A: My father. The night he shot himself I thought he was going to die. I’m not squeamish at all, blood doesn’t bother me. The night he died I did the only thing I know, which is compressions. I called 911. But what else could I do? I want to be able to save other people because I couldn’t save him. I know how it is to lose someone, so if I can help others not lose someone…
Q: That’s why you want to be an Army medic?
A: A lot of people I’ve talked to say because of that they’ll probably stick me in something like that. Will that mean I can’t drive a tank? I don’t know.
Q: How did you come to Sequoia?
A: (My parents had) been separated 10 years. I lived over there (Manson, Chelan County) for freshman year and I was in one of the top schools there, but I personally don’t like it there. After my dad died, my mom wanted me to go back to eastern Washington and live there, but I wanted to graduate and I wanted to do it early, so I stayed here.
Q: How are you doing in school?
A: I’ve made it my mission to graduate from this school, because I haven’t had success in other schools. I really liked my government classes, but I didn’t pass them, so I had to retake them. When I came back from Christmas break, I passed all my classes. But later, I had to move out, and I had really bad anxiety. I live with my uncle and grandpa now.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I watch Netflix and pet my cats, Satan and Lucifer. Satan’s name was Mocha when I first got him, but I broke up with my girlfriend and changed it. He would jump on my face while I’m sleeping, and that’s why I gave him the name Satan. He’s my heart and soul. When I’m sad I’ll go force him into loving me and give him kisses and cuddles. I love all animals.
Q: What else motivates you to graduate early and join the Army?
A: My whole life I said I wasn’t going to go into the Army. But now it’s like I really need structure. And I’m really bad with money. If I get it, I spend it. If I have uniforms, I won’t have to buy clothes.
I’m proud of my dad, he worked really hard my whole life, but he didn’t make it to 49, and my mom, she’s had struggles, but she’s worked hard her whole life, and I’m proud of her. But I don’t want that. I want to be effortlessly happy. I want the big white house, that’s what drives me. And I want to own a zoo.
Q: What is it about teaching that appeals to you?
A: I think I want to work with younger kids, elementary schools. When you’re younger that’s when the doors open. That’s when they are developing as people, and I want to help them develop. That’s what I think kids need. I want to work with little kids for a while, but then when I hit 30 or 40 years old, I want to work at this school. It’s just a great school.
Q: How will you manage both teaching and nursing?
A: My boyfriend asks me the same thing. I’ll teach in the day and nurse at night, duh! And I’ll do a zoo on the weekends.
Q: How do you get along with your peers?
A: I smile at everyone I pass all the time, because I don’t like to be rude. …I’m trying to live life, not to its fullest, but to the best of my ability, by avoiding all the drugs and parties. I get a lot of anger from my dad’s side of the family but I don’t blame him for it. It gave me more strength as a person. I try to take responsibility for myself.
Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; email@example.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.