GRANITE FALLS — Diana Cortes, 18, is a senior at Granite Falls High School who connects with her hometown through cheerleading. She is the oldest of four children and spends a lot of her time with family. She is in Running Start at Everett Community College and hopes to become a dental hygienist.
Question: What activities are you involved in at Granite Falls High School?
Answer: Well, I’ve been a cheerleader since my sophomore year and I really enjoy that. I did cross-country when I was a freshman and I also did competitive ballroom dance as a freshman. Sadly, the program ended so that’s why I went into cheer, but I enjoy cheer a lot. I’m also in Honor Society and I’m doing Running Start, so I think that has a lot to do with maybe not being able to involve myself as much as I wish I could. It’s far away and it just consumes my time. I tried doing half-time Running Start last year, my junior year, but it didn’t quite work out because it was hard to get the classes to line up.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: Right now, I’m taking a pre-calculus class — most of it’s just trigonometry — and then I have an intercultural communications class, and it really explains how people between cultures have different ways of communicating and how you have to respect those boundaries and try to cope with one another. I’m also taking U.S. History, which is a requirement for graduation.
Q: So is cheerleading the only time you get to spend here at the high school?
A: It really is, yeah. Cheerleading helps me because it’s so involved with school. There’s football games, basketball games, wrestling, assemblies. So that’s the reason I didn’t let go of cheerleading when I went into Running Start, because it’s the only thing that really keeps me connected with the student life here.
Q: Is it hard to keep your grades up in college courses?
A: Kind of. I’ve had straight A’s in all of my classes except for a B+. Last year, I faced the challenge of taking a chemistry course and I had no chemistry background. I had to do what a high school student does in a year in two months and a half, and that was a big challenge, but I ended up with an A. I was like, wow, I did it.
Q: What are your favorite subjects?
A: I really like math. Right now, like I said, I’m taking pre-calculus and communications, and I thought communications was going to be the easier class for me. But it turns out math just comes easier to me than communication and English and history. I also enjoy biology and other sciences.
Q: What are your plans after high school?
A: I’m planning to get my degree in dental hygiene. With Running Start, I can save a year in college. I’ll do one more year at Everett and then I’ll transfer to a dental hygiene program in either Shoreline or Lake Washington. I should be graduating with my degree at 21.
Q: Why dental hygiene?
A: I enjoy going to the dentist. My first goal was to become a dentist, then I began working toward it. I just feel like it’s too long in school for me because I have three other siblings who I also want to have an opportunity to get a really good job and I feel like I’d be kind of hogging all the money because it’s such an expensive career to study for. I also want to start living life a little earlier instead of having to wait eight years.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I really enjoy dance. Like I said, I was in ballroom dance, and I really enjoy going to dances. I’m also really family-oriented, so I love to spend time with my family. We have movie nights and we’ll go out on family dates. We try every weekend, but sometimes because of school I can’t. I also have this thing with my cheer friends where we go on friend dates every Thursday night, and then with my boyfriend at Western Washington University, we try to see each other every two weeks for a movie or dinner or something.
Q: Along with being a dental hygienist, what are some of your long-term goals?
A: Definitely to have my own family. My goal is if I graduate with a degree at 21, I have a couple years to enjoy my career, find the right guy and get married and enjoy the marriage before we start a family. Traveling is also a goal. And I’ll probably move to a warmer place, either California or Florida.
Q: Where do you want to travel?
A: I definitely want to go to Spain and Fiji.
Q: Is there anything else you do to stay busy here in Granite Falls?
A: I do some volunteering at my church, and I’m in the youth group. I go to Holy Cross Catholic Church on Highway 92. But most of my time is really involved and focused in school.
Kari Bray: firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-339-3439