by Leah Sottile and Joel Smith
You think maybe The Inlander's editorial staffers have changed since they were in high school? You don't know the half of it.
At high school graduation, Michael was still strapping himself into fluorescent, double-knit bellbottoms.
Mike listened to Ted Nugent and was still mystified by girls, and Sheri knew every word to "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Ted soon watched his rayon picture shirts and turf shoes get tossed out of a UW frat house window.
Joel doesn't regret his predilection for Blues Traveler.
Kevin's parents thought he was bound for the priesthood, Ann had never ventured further west than the Connecticut River, Joe was a straight-edge punk and Josh listened to Skinny Puppy -- just to get a reaction.
And as for me, I tossed my cap and tassel into the sky with bright, na & iuml;ve eyes. I had plans of changing the world with my writing. Plaid pants and combat boots were my outfit of choice, and my faith in God was stronger than ever.
Those are just snippets of what we were like when we were leaving high school. In the years since, we've changed just a tad.
But it was those changes that inspired us to take a look at how today's high school graduates tick. After all, the high schools that the members of the Class of 2005 are leaving behind aren't the Ridgemont Highs we all remember: We never had to worry about high school shootings, and there were no statewide performance tests.
So we questioned counselors and teachers at Spokane's high schools, searching for kids with something to say. We didn't just want the kids who were the National Merit Scholars -- we wanted the ones with attitude, with a cause, with something on their minds besides football games. We ended up with five students, all of whom were born and raised in Spokane. We picked their brains to learn more about the next generation of decision-maker and politicians, of great thinkers and revolutionaries. Because the high school of today is no longer a prep period for the real world -- it is the real world.
-- Leah Sottile
18 years old. 3.9 GPA, 1400 SAT. Valedictorian. An only child, she was born and raised in Spokane; her father immigrated to Spokane from Russia before she was born. Attended St. George's from kindergarten through 12th grade. Started the Raising Awareness of Differences Club. Played on the tennis team for two years. Works at Bruchi's. Loves photography and music. Applied to seven colleges; plans to attend Northeastern University in Boston in the fall.
George W. Bush: "I'm not a fan, but I also think -- it's so hard. I really, really, really want to be a liberal, but I think it's really hard for the country to go in that direction right now. So I think he's OK for now. In my contemporary politics class, there was this one kid who was really liberal, and I just thought he was too idealistic."
Jim West: "I'm not totally familiar with what he's done for us as mayor. First of all, I think it's really bad he had to come out in that way. But it's kind of funny in a way because the joke's on Spokane. They're getting what was coming to them. I watched when he was on The Today Show, and I think it made a lot of sense when he said he was elected by the people of Spokane. I think it's good that he's representing who voted for him, but I think he's kind of hypocritical."
Price of Gas: "I don't pay for my gas, and I drive an SUV -- if that tells you anything."
Gay marriage: "I'm all for it. My biggest thing is when people say 'I don't want to see that," I'm like, 'You don't have to see them get married.'"
Music Sharing: "I personally don't have a music download program -- that's not because I'm against downloading, it just messes up my computer. I think it benefits that artist, especially those ones who don't get well known. You can't buy all of the CDs you need to buy in Spokane."
Inlander: Tell me about your high school.
Emily: "It's very small. There's 27 kids in my graduating class. I had gone to school with most of them for 13 years. My class was like my brothers and sisters. I wrote my thing that all of the valedictorians write for the North Side Voice and I gave it to my school, and they said, 'This is too cynical. It's very tongue in cheek.' Anybody who knows me knows that I am cynical! I thought that was weird. My high school was $12,000 a year -- I don't think it was worth it. I had some really, really awesome teachers, but that didn't stop me from slacking. There's things about [St. George's] that are really awesome, but it's also hard to get up and go everyday. But I guess that's high school."
Inlander: Were there cliques at your school?
Emily: "Our class as a whole was good about doing things together outside of school. I was the exception -- I hung out with people from other schools. You know how they do the Most Likely To's? They don't want to not include anyone. So I was "Most Likely To Be a Rolling Stone photographer." Like I would ever work for Rolling Stone! I think some people in my classes see me as the funny girl who talks a lot to liven up the classes. As far as cliques go, I floated in between. People would ask me about music. I keep saying I'll never ever go back there. I hope to be far enough from Spokane when it happens that my reunion won't be convenient."
Inlander: Was Spokane a good place to go to high school?
Emily: "It was OK. Right now, actually, it seems like Spokane is changing for the better, and I kind of regret that it's not the next four years that I'll be in high school here. I kept thinking, 'If I lived in Seattle, my life would be so much better!' I had to drive to Seattle a lot to go to shows. I went over there and saw the Decemberists and Ted Leo and These Arms Are Snakes."
Inlander: What did you do for fun?
Emily: "I went to shows. I went to all three Caf & eacute; Soles, the Merq, the Spike, Tryst, the Detour and Fat Tuesday's. I've been to a couple of Big Easy shows -- woo hoo. [laughs] I've been to Death Cab for Cutie and I saw Everclear for free there. I go to a lot of house shows, like at the Warsaw Pact -- that was this house on North Atlantic by Car Toys on Division. I thought that the backroom at the Spike was an awesome place to have shows. Kids don't support [the scene], but they complain when there's no shows. I think I'm pretty lucky to have an interest that was really specific."
Inlander: What do you look for in a place to live?
Emily: "A lot of people, a big population, different shows, of course. That was one of my main criteria with choosing a school. My mom was like, 'I can't believe you are picking schools by what kinds of shows they get.' I think Spokane wants so badly to be really awesome, but it's just not there. I think everything that it's doing -- the revitalization of downtown -- is really good. Other than that, it's boring. I think Seattle is good for stuff to do for kids under 18."
Inlander: What are you going to study in college?
Emily: "When my grandpa asks, I'm a marketing major. But when I get there, I plan to change my major to Music Industry. Northeastern is a year-round school for five years. Most of the year. you take an internship. I don't want to get done early because I have a full scholarship. When I got it, I looked up what it was for -- it's the Ralph J. Bunche Scholarship -- and they said it's their main recruiting tool for getting African-American students to come there. I even looked on my application to make sure I didn't say I was black, but I said I was white. I think it's because of the diversity club that I started. My dad is from Moscow [Russia], and he sells Russian collectibles on the Internet. There's a lot of Russian stuff around me, but I've never really been back. We're also Jewish, but I don't identify with that, either. The diversity club isn't that I'm diverse, but that I think people at St. George's need to be more aware of it."
Inlander: What do you want to do with your life?
Emily: "I know when you called me, you called because you thought I have good grades -- and you probably didn't expect me to be like this. I don't think good grades are a gauge of how smart you are. I don't know how smart I am. I am struggling with what I want to do. Everyone says [I] should be a doctor, but that's not what I want to do. I just want a really cute apartment with hardwood floors. I want a record label, to make T-shirts, to tour as a band manager. I don't have any of that I-want-to-get-married-and-have-kids attitude. Maybe when I get older it'll be more important."
Inlander: What do you worry about for your future?
Emily: "I worry that I will go to college for five years and it won't have mattered. I'm afraid I won't get a job because music management is so specific. I don't have worries about us going to war with China or anything -- well, I mean, I guess I do. I'm worried I'll get started in the wrong thing."
-- interviewed by Leah Sottile
GPA 2.8. Did not take the SAT. Born and raised in Spokane. Has a younger brother. Member of the Shadle Park High School Orchestra. Plays the cello, viola and guitar. Enjoys playing and listening to modern underground rock and '60s music. Wants to buy a sitar. Is an active member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Plans to attend Spokane Falls Community College, but hasn't applied yet.
George W. Bush: "Um. Hmm. Stingy. Boring. Yeah, I can't say that I like him that much. I don't know much about politics, so I'd have to say I'm uninterested in him."
War in Iraq: "I don't think it ever should have happened in the first place. I understand protecting the nation, but I think we jumped into it and didn't do enough research. I know we have other threats from other places, like Iran."
The WASL: "I think it's worth taking. It's good to gauge your progress. I did good on it."
Gay Marriage: "Churches don't have to acknowledge it if they don't want to. But if two people want to seriously be together, I see nothing wrong with it."
Price of gas: "We need to move to hydrogen cars -- especially for teenagers, it's hard to afford that."
Inlander: Tell me about your high school.
Andrew: "I enjoyed it quite a lot. It was pretty good, actually, but I was never into school spirit. I was kind of an outcast because I'm really quiet. I just did my own thing with my own friends."
Inlander: Were there cliques? How did you fit in?
Andrew: "I would say yes, even though most kids would say no because people say we had a really close year. But I never felt a part of that. I'm quiet, so I felt more detached. I had a lot of friends -- I guess we were a clique. But I do think there were a lot of cliques. We were the oddballs. I had the band geeks as friends and a lot of stoner friends. I had a friend who unicycles and rock climbs -- that's my best friend. There were the kids who liked cars and knew everything about them. The basic, average, football jocks. The popular kids, then there were the less popular but cooler kids in my opinion. You can't define them. I hate the word 'cool' -- I think it's a relative term. You can't know someone is cool until you know who they are. There are kids that are thought of as cool, but it's in the eyes of the observer."
Inlander: What did you think of the quality of education?
Andrew: "I think it could be a lot harder. The only reason I didn't get a higher GPA was because I didn't do homework. I value education -- wait, I guess I kind of contradict myself with my lifestyle. I value education, but the second I leave school I can't do homework. There are so many better things I'd rather do with my time. Like play guitar or hang out with my friends. I just rock out with a few kids. Not many of my friends are settling down and going to college. It's mainly the stoner friends that I share my music with. I don't do [drugs] -- probably religious aspects come into that. It's a waste, and you just sit there. It's my morals, I guess. They know I'm against it, so they don't do it around me. In fact, I only hang out with a few of them now.
Inlander: Was graduating a big deal for you?
Andrew: "It wasn't -- but then once all the relatives came over and showered me with congratulations, I realized what a big deal it was. I didn't think of it that way, but I guess it was. Twelve years of school: over."
Inlander: What do you think of Spokane?
Andrew: "I like Spokane. It's not too big or too small. For fun, I play guitar, I play hacky sack -- that's pretty much what I did between classes. I rock climb. There's a lot of stuff to do if you have money. It doesn't take much to entertain me. We just go to the park and talk -- to Clark Park. I used to go to the Spike every week for open-mic night. I never played -- I was about to, but I don't have any sets to do. I don't sing -- NO That's probably the thing I would wish."
Inlander: How do you think Spokane could improve?
Andrew: "Probably I'd add more things that support music in Spokane. I know it would be impossible, but I wish we had more variety in our music. Pretty much everything I've heard is either punk or metal. I'd want to hear more experimental -- anything that pushes the envelope in either direction. In Seattle, walking down the street, there are stores everywhere. In Spokane, you don't get much of that. I love seeing culture on the streets, watching people play on the street corners. I watched a guy in San Francisco who was playing Beatles songs on the corner, and I just stood and watched him. It was so cool."
Inlander: What do you want to do with your future?
Andrew: "Getting a job and moving out. I've applied to so many places. My parents don't think moving out is going to happen. Living with my friends I think would be fun. I have good friends to live with -- they aren't too crazy. Really, I don't have much planned out."
Inlander: What are your goals?
Andrew: "More musical clarity. I want to take a lot of music classes in college -- for myself, not for a degree. Career-wise, I have no idea. Ultimately, I'd love to settle down and have a record shop. As a musician, I think I appreciate other people's music more than my own. I guess my goal would be finding a goal. I haven't found one yet. These last few weeks have been interesting because I'm like, 'What am I going to do now?' I do have a lot of interests, but I don't know what to delve into."
Inlander: What's one of the most important things in your life?
Andrew: "I believe in God, I'm religious -- he's a big part of my life, not in the traditional sense. Organized religion -- I have some problems with that. I love the sermons. They teach great things. I have lots of talks with my friends about it, too, because I have a lot of friends who don't have any beliefs about God. They are really skeptical about it. There are so many lessons that you can learn. You can look at the Bible and see a lot of lessons that are relevant today. It's like a guide for life. I believe in God, and I read the Bible. I'm more into that than other people who say they are. That sounds self-righteous. I think I think too much."
Inlander: What do you mean?
Andrew: "Like I listen to a song, and I try to understand and find out why they put something where they did. I just looked at 'Dazed and Confused' by Led Zeppelin. Look at the first line, 'Been dazed and confused for so long, it's not true.' What does that mean??!! I value that fact that I think too much -- I just don't share it with other people that often." -- interviewed by Leah Sottile
Graduated from University High in Spokane Valley. GPA: 3.7. SAT: 1080. Going to EWU in the fall. Age 18. Born in Spokane, moved to Spokane Valley when she was 8. Involved in drama, two choirs, a dance team, a freshman mentoring program and ComedySportz. Lives with her mother. Collects pennies. Attends three church services a week, at Grace Harvest Fellowship and Shiloh Miracle Center; sings on worship team. Into photography. Wants to be a social worker. Or an archaeologist. Or a detective.
George W. Bush: "I consider myself a Republican, but on some issues I can be really liberal. Usually I'm a conservative. I'm, like, "Go Bush! Woo hoo!" I support some of the things he does, but some of my friends think I should not be so pro-Bush. They also think, because I'm into recycling, they say 'No, you're not really Republican material.' I think Bush himself is kind of strange, but I don't see anything too bad that he's done."
The War: "The war in Iraq is really difficult because I think we're doing good stuff, but I also just don't like seeing people get killed, basically. I think we came in the wrong way."
Jim West: "Gee, I thought we had a good mayor on our hands, but we sure didn't. I don't think he should be banned from being our mayor because he's gay even though he's a Republican and he was against gay marriage and stuff. I just think he should be gone, I don't know. He lied. And he continues to lie, and I think he knew that the kid was a minor. He's not a real Republican [laughs]."
The Price of Gas: "A tad on the expensive side. I don't pay for my gas yet, although my mom told me last night that I was going to have to start paying. I remember when gas was, like, a buck. They were saying if Bush would just tap into the wells, the reserve or whatever ... What if there is an emergency and we will need it? I don't know if we should drill into the Alaska thing. It's my whole "save the earth" spiel."
Marijuana: "[My mom] thinks it should be legalized, and I don't know why. I was actually having this conversation with my friend the other day. I was, like, 'No, because then anybody could do it.' And she said, 'Well, it's the same thing as drinking' -- because maybe if you legalize it, then the thrill to do it won't be as much. I don't know if it would make much of a difference, really. Maybe less people would be in jail and we wouldn't have to pay as many taxes or something."
Inlander: Did you like your high school?
Amanda: "On a scale from one to 10, it was probably a 7.5 or something. It's a pretty good school. Some of the teachers are iffy, kinda sketchy. But my experiences there were pretty good, just because of choir and drama and stuff. I guess it's a pretty good school. There's a lot of school spirit for the sports teams, but on spirit days, nobody dresses up. I'm, like, one out of five people who dresses up. I have a lot of spirit. Woo hoo! Go Titans! I get decked out for spirit days."
Inlander: Iffy teachers?
Amanda: "I've had some teachers I didn't really like, or I didn't really understand at all. And so many teachers are just not very good, either. Then there's some teachers who are just coaches, who want to coach so they teach, too. [But] Ms. Hunter, my drama teacher, she's great. Same with Mr. Seaton, my choir teacher."
Inlander: Your teacher described you as being "creepy about environmentalism."
Amanda: "I like that she said that. I'm obsessed with recycling. I would recycle everything in the world if you could. Like, if I find something that can't be recycled, I'll hold onto it and wait until one day you can. I don't know where [this] came from. It's a form of, like, OCD or something. I'm all about improving life on earth. I think everybody can save the world."
Inlander: Were there a lot of cliques in high school?
Amanda: "You definitely do see some cliques. I know there's some kids who are, like, the debaters, and the equal rights people. They all hang out together, it seems like. Then you have the band kids. But they all have different friends, too, because they're all involved in other things, too. I think there are distinctions with styles and clothing, but people still hang out with each other. Not, like, the kids who do drugs and the people who do a whole bunch of sports, [though]."
Inlander: Were you popular?
Amanda: "No! I was just so busy; I didn't have time to do anything like that. I basically just hung out with the choir kids and the kids in drama. That was about it. I didn't have time to break out or anything. I didn't do a lot of sports, and it seems like you'd meet more people when you do sports."
Inlander: Is your school too big?
Amanda: "We could stand to lose the freshmen. Seriously. They're just kind of there. I don't really see them too much at all. They take up, like, so much room.
Inlander: Did you feel any peer pressure at U-High?
Amanda: I haven't really experienced any. Just because I hang out with people that I have the same interests with. I guess at any school there is pressure to do stuff. Maybe with some of the younger kids, if they see [upper] classmen going to parties and they get asked -- then yeah, they'll be pressured to drink, maybe. Drinking is a big thing. There's definitely a lot of drinking going on ... I peer pressure kids to get into choir and drama [laughs]. That's what I do. [She adds that she doesn't think drugs are a big problem.]
Inlander: Is this a good high school town?
Amanda: I think so. I go to concerts in town if there's a really good show ... [But] it takes forever to get anywhere from here. It's kind of an inconvenient place for a home to be. A lot of people go to the malls. I go church. I think it's a good high school town. [Some] kids might think it's boring to be out here.
Inlander: What will you be doing in three months? In two years? 10? 25?
Amanda: "I'm going to Eastern in the fall. I'm sort of interested in social work. I really like people. I want to help. I try to be the superhero [laughs]. I don't know. I used to want to be a vet. [In two years], I'll be figuring out my major and going for it. [In 10 years], I'll be married. I'll have my degrees and will be into my career. Maybe I'll have a kid by then. Yeah, I will. I'll be 28. I'll have a kid. [In 25 years], I'll have a beautiful house and a cool family, a solid job that I love doing. I want to live somewhere really pretty. There are pretty spots in Spokane, [but] I don't know if I want to live in Spokane forever. I plan on being just really happy."-- interviewed by Joel Smith
Age 17. Graduated from Havermale High School in less than three years. Born and raised in Spokane. GPA: 3.4. Didn't take the SATs. ASB treasurer. Played catcher and right fielder on the softball team. Excellent chess player. Has two brothers and a sister. Kicked out of his father's house twice, now lives with his grandparents. Buys and rebuilds bicycles for fun. Rode 20 miles to school and back every day; only one absence in three years. On July 18, reports for Marine Corps boot camp.
Jim West: "I think he should keep his personal life to himself. Instead of hiring potential dates on the job ... it doesn't matter whether he's gay or bi. He earned enough votes in the first place to become mayor. Well, let him run his term. But keep his personal life separate."
George W. Bush: "Don't like him."
Iraq War: "It's Bush's fault. I don't like him."
Price of Gas: "Really high. It's the main reason why I ride my bike."
Gay Marriage: "If they love each other, well, let 'em get married. I have nothing against gay people."
Drinking Age: "I believe that if someone is old enough to fight for their country, they're old enough to go out and have a beer."
High School Violence: "I'm disappointed. Disappointed in the fact that somebody who won't talk to anyone, just sits there and tries having police-assisted suicide. They take a gun to school or take a knife to school, and they threaten somebody with it just 'cause they don't like 'em. On the other hand, I also believe that parents should keep their weapons in a safely locked place, not in a shoebox in the top of the closet."
Inlander: Did you like Havermale?
Mike: "On a scale of one to 10, I would actually give this school a 10. If given the chance to go back to high school and do it over again, I wouldn't choose another high school. At other high schools, there's too much drama, too many people getting beat up, getting in fights, taking guns to school."
Inlander: What are your academic interests?
Mike: "Math. Math is my strong suit. Geometry. Yeah, it's easy, but I like the shapes, figuring out the area and the circumference and everything. I'm a visual, hands-on person. I can't have someone just explain something to me and be able to go do it. They have to physically kind of show me how to do it, be there with me as I'm doing it."
Inlander: Are there a lot of cliques at Havermale?
Mike: "To a point. There's the jocks, there's the Goths. Well, what the majority of people would call the nerds, there's people who sit on the computer. That was me. I sat on the computer all day, either working or playing games. But it's not like everyone just stays in their own little group. Everybody splits up and they talk to everybody else. They treat everybody like a normal human being. There really wasn't peer pressure here, except maybe for people to start smoking [cigarettes]. I actually had a couple of friends start smoking because of the peer pressure, because all their friends smoked and they started smoking so they could fit [in] the crowd. But that was never one of my problems."
Inlander: Would you say you were popular in high school?
Mike: "Mmm, no, not really. Just an average person who got along with everybody. And everybody got along with me. I'm actually pretty good friends with the [popular] basketball players. I talk to them; everybody just talks to each other."
Inlander: Why are you easy to get along with?
Mike: "I didn't used to be easy to get along with. I used to be a real jerk to people. When I first came to Havermale, I was kind of the loner person. Well, then I found a whole bunch of other loner people, and we just kind of ended up being a group of friends, and it just got bigger and bigger and bigger. We're so close. We'll get each other out of a bind if it comes to that. I got jumped by a group of kids from a different school one night. If my friends hadn't [have] been there, I probably would have ended up in jail, because I probably would have beat the crap out of them. I'm not one who likes to really fight, [but] I will if I have to."
Inlander: Is this a good high school town?
Mike: "In general, yeah. A little small in my view. I'm used to it. I've been all over the city. I can get anywhere from just about anywhere. It's one of the perks of riding a bicycle. There's bowling, there's video arcades. Get a computer and stay home and play. Go to a park. Go swimming during the summer. "
Inlander: What could Spokane use more of?
Mike: "Not necessarily more of, just being cheaper. A lot of people on this side of town can barely afford to pay the rent on the houses they live in."
Inlander: What are Spokane's biggest problems?
Mike: "Money problems. Drug problems. A lot of people around town -- you see 'em, they have drug problems. I actually have several family members who are involved with drugs. Aunts, uncles, my mother [pauses]. I don't talk to them very often, so I don't talk about them. There's actually a lot of people who are homeless in Spokane."
Inlander: Will you be glad to get out of here?
Mike: "Yes and no. I know I'll probably end up coming back in the long run. I'll probably end up living here. It's just one of those cities that kind of draws people to it. I want to get out and go explore. I have never seen the ocean. I live 280 miles inland, and I've never seen the ocean."
Inlander: Why the military?
Mike: "My family really doesn't have any money to put me through college, So I always said I want to join the military because, well, I'll get free college tuition and if I go through a full 20 years, they'll pay me to basically sit on my butt all day and do nothing at home. Marine Corps is actually what I've been wanting to do since I was about 14 or so. And that's because my grandfather was a lance corporal in the Marine Corps. So it's kind of a family tradition.
I'm set up for four years active, four years reserve. But what I actually want to do is make a full career out of it, minimum 20 years. [It's] the money. The high-paid job. The guaranteed career for 20 years. I know what I want to do."
Inlander: Is there a chance you'll go to war?
Mike: "At this point, because of my Mode of Service (computer programming), I won't be shipped out. At least not right away. And if I do get shipped out, I will actually end up being on a ship, and I get to push a little button that sends the missile off and explodes the town 20 miles away or more. But there's always a chance of getting shipped out."
Inlander: Where do you see yourself in three months? 2 years? 10 years? 25 years?
Mike: "Three months, I'll either be in Florida or Seattle in the computer tech schools they have. Within two years, getting closer to college education, going to college. Eventually end up getting bachelor's degree so I can go to flight-training school. That is very much still the main thing I'd like to do. [In 10 years], maybe being married, having kids. Kind of settling down a little bit, although I might end up being stationed or shipped out in different places.
If I don't retire after 20 years, I'll still be in the military. But I'll also kind of try to start my own business, which links back to present-day building bicycles: buying, selling, trading. Just starting my own little business of fixing bicycles and repairing them for people."
Inlander: Anything you're afraid of?
Mike: "The only thing I can honestly say I've ever been scared about was graduating. And I've done it." -- interviewed by Joel Smith
3.83 GPA, 1170 SAT. Born and raised in Spokane. Has a younger brother. Two-year captain of the Lewis and Clark High School Drill Team. Member of the Race and Cultural Ethnicity Club. Counselor at YMCA Camp Reed. Member of ASB. Trained as a dancer in ballet, jazz, hip-hop and Irish step dancing. Taught dance lessons for the HUB after-school program. In the fall, plans to attend Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.
George W. Bush: "Not a big fan. I know he is doing his best, but most things he's doing, I disagree with. I don't agree with war and one of the biggest things I don't agree with him with are his environmental policies. I feel like education is huge - I want to be a teacher - but I feel like a lot of his policies aren't concentrating on things that he needs to, like the arts."
War in Iraq: "I am anti-war. I believe it's hypocritical to go over there and kill people. I know people say that we had to, but I think the basis of the war wasn't necessary. I think the whole fuel/oil thing is getting out of hand. It's going to run out anyway. I have had cousins who have gone to Afghanistan, and it just makes me sad."
The WASL: "I was in pre-calculus, and I almost failed that section of the WASL. I think it's not a good test. I think they need a test, but the way that one is graded is ridiculous. They spend so much grading it and proctoring it. I heard a statistic, and I don't know if it's true, that it costs $50 per student to grade the test. Some of my teachers had anti-WASL pins. I thought that was cool."
Price of gas: "I think a lot of the taxes being added aren't necessary, but I don't think we can complain about the price of gas in this country because it's so much higher in other countries. We consume too much. I think there needs to be more action on the biodiesel side of things."
School shootings: "I was eating my lunch when Sean Fitzpatrick brought his gun to LC. I saw the vice principal run by and tell everyone to get out. They pulled the fire alarm, so we all thought it was a joke. It's scary. I don't know how to approach it or how to fix it. I think some of the ways they are approaching it are wrong. It's not like you can fix it completely."
Inlander: Tell me about your high school.
Hannah: "I found high school to be a positive experience overall. They tell us upon coming into it that you need to involve yourself in high school. You hear it so much, it's like a broken record. But it's true. High school is totally what you make of it. High school is when you find out who you want to be. I loved LC because of all the different types of people. I think I learned more about myself socially than academically. I had some experiences with teachers who I didn't get along with. I am outspoken and I know what I like. I had one teacher that I couldn't stand how he taught and I didn't come away from [that class] with anything. I decided high school is for high school, and college is for college, and I didn't take the highly educated road."
Inlander: Did you have cliques at your school?
Hannah: "I don't know if I would call them cliques, but there were definitely defined types of people. There's the typical California, rich high school girls and guys, the artsy crowd, the group that doesn't like high school, the smart kids, the involved people. I feel like I bounced around a bit. I have a lot of friends through different groups. I think other people could classify me, but I can't classify me in one group. And that was kind of my goal. I don't think I was popular, but I feel like I knew a lot of people. My goal was to leave an impression, and I think that I did."
Inlander: Are you nervous to leave Spokane?
Hannah: "I'm really excited to leave for awhile. Spokane was in the pits for a while. My dad had a music store for 13 years and it closed in '96 because the arts were nonexistent. I think I will miss Spokane. I think people come out of high school ready to leave, and they take it for granted. I'm excited to come home for the holidays. I like Spokane for its potential."
Inlander: What did you do for fun?
Hannah: "You always say there's nothing to do, but you just have to get creative. I just wish there were more places to hang out late because everything closes at 9. I'm not a big partier; I like to have a good time every once in awhile. Most things are OK in moderation. I feel like if you don't learn or begin -- I feel like I kind of know my boundaries now. My mom did a really good job in terms of partying because she never said 'Don't do that.' Because when parents say no, that makes kids want to do it more. I think most of my friends think my mom has the cool mom thing going on, so they felt like they could approach her."
Inlander: What do you think are Spokane's biggest problems?
Hannah: "Right now, it's its reputation. I think that Spokane picks up trends a little ways after everywhere else. Oh, the public transportations system in Spokane -- that is awful. I had a bus experience where my friend and I wanted to go to the Valley Mall before we could drive. Two buses didn't come and then it took us two and a half hours to get there."
Inlander: What are your future plans?
Hannah: "My main thing is I can serve the world, the country, the society with teaching because it's the most fulfilling thing. I just want to change lives. Maybe it won't be visible, but I just want to help people achieve what they want to achieve."
Inlander: What do you worry about for the future?
Hannah: "I guess I'm kind of a positive person. I worry about keeping in contact. I'm really bad at keeping in touch with people, so that's something I'll have to work at. I'm worried about leaving my brother and my mom. He's 11 and going into sixth grade -- he's going into junior high, and that's a tough time.
"Another thing I don't like about our society is how the Christian doctrine is shaping how we're supposed to live. I think the whole religion thing is becoming a big deal in our society, but not in a positive way. Not that I'm against it -- I'm a spiritual person. I go to the Unitarian church. This year, I started going to the services by myself. I went on a backpacking trip last year, to Beyond Malibu. It's a Christian trip though Young Life, and I loved it. It was an amazing experience for me. I learned a lot about what everyone is talking about. The problem with society is that some people's views -- especially in politics like with the gay marriage thing and George Bush -- are becoming too big of an issue. Like there was this kid at Camp Malibu who said that he voted for Bush just because he was a believer. With society becoming more and more diverse, you can't just expand diversity and not religion." -- interviewed by Leah Sottile
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