The Kids Are Alright

I want to be a policeman so I can help people.  I have volunteered at the police department and come to admire them and what they stand for.  I took classes in forensics and loved it.  I hope to be a forensics specialist in the police department

This year  I was among many  parents and teachers who volunteered to evaluate over 500 boys and girls as they presented their Culminating Project as part of their graduation requirement.  It was an honor to watch these young men and women talk about the past four years and what’s ahead.

I will attend Carnegie Mellon University and major in computer science.  And I will continue playing the violin.  The past four years I spend my time either coding video games or playing in a violin ensemble.   Here is a video of us playing at Benaroya Hall last year and we got a standing ovation.  By the way, I wrote the piece.

Each student is asked to spend up to half an hour talking about their time at Kamiak.  Among the highlights are a chronological summary of the past four years, turning points, favorite classes, what they learned about themselves and extracurricular activities.  A big part of the presentation is the presentation of two “artifacts” from the four years.  The artifact can be a class project/paper, something they made or a significant accomplishment.  They must discuss how the artifacts are relevant to what they did and what they hope to do.  Finally they must talk about their plans for next year.

I will go to culinary school next year.  I will also be working fulltime so it will take me awhile to finish.  I’ve been living on my own for the past year with my girlfriend and I do all the cooking.  I’m a great cook.   Who knows, maybe I will be on Top Chef one day.

We hear a lot about kids today.  Unfortunately it’s not often the good stuff.  The media prefer stories about kids in trouble.  I prefer stories like the ones above.  Every day as I watched these kids I was inspired.  They were focused, smart, passionate and compassionate, engaged, interesting and looking forward to life after high school.

I will major in mechanical engineering at the University of Washington.  Here is a robot I built last year for a state competition with my team.  We didn’t win but I loved figuring out how to build the robot and make it work.  I can hardly wait to get out in the world and come up with more ideas to make people’s lives better.

Some kids almost make your heart burst with their stories.

When I was growing up all I wanted was a sewing machine so I could make clothes.  The past couple of years I had a part-time job to save my money to buy that sewing machine.  It was part of my plan to ultimately become a fashion designer.  Finally after nearly three years I had enough to get that sewing machine.   But it was also my sister’s birthday and she really wanted a guitar.  I used the money to buy her that guitar.  I still don’t have the sewing machine but the look on my sister’s face when she plays that sweet guitar makes it all worthwhile.

I’m going to community college in a couple of years.  Right now I’m getting a job to help out my mom who lost her job.  Once Mom gets a job and I’ve saved money, I will go to college with the goal of ultimately being a nurse…just like my mom.

The kids are upbeat, confident and ready to conquer the world.  Their dreams are as diverse as their ethnicity.  One boy played an original composition on the guitar and told us he is going to a college in Indiana to pursue a music degree.  Then he hopes to one day become a Christian music director at his father’s church before heading overseas to do mission work.

It has been amazing to watch the kids tell their stories.  They will be policemen, firefighters, nurses, engineers, musicians, chefs, veterinarians, air traffic controllers, pilots, fashion designers and maybe even a politician or two.  Who knows?  What I do know is that we will be okay because the kids are alright.


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