By Gale Fiege, The Herald
Question: What does Marysville School District’s high school program called SOAR stand for?
Answer: I guess it’s Secondary Options and Alternative Resources. All I know is that SOAR has been a good fit for me. I previously went to Heritage and Marysville Pilchuck high schools. I am trying hard to make the best of the fine instruction offered by my SOAR teachers. I like the way they teach and that they know how I learn.
The program allows me some flexibility in my day. My health requires that I sleep in, so I start later and I think better when I am fully awake. Our program is like a one-room school. We are close.
Q: So where are you going to college next year?
A: I plan to start at Everett Community College. My goal, though, is the University of Hawaii. I hope to study psychology, perhaps to become a school counselor or a therapist. I love to study people, even now.
Q: Your teachers describe you as being confident, curious, hard-working, inclusive, insightful, mature, an excellent student, a good writer and a leader. What do you think about that?
A: Wow. I don’t know what to say. I am just focused on my goals to finish high school, go to college and bring something back to my community on the reservation. So many people are on drugs. I want to come back to help people deal with issues. My community is my passion.
My education has been a struggle for me. I am not going to lie. It’s been tough. Now I am seeing the bigger picture. I am determined. I know I am the only person who can make it happen.
Q: Your teachers also mentioned a project in which you studied what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder among Civil War veterans. How was that?
A: It was interesting. PTSD back then was termed a broken heart. People were prescribed alcohol. So much different than now. What I think about war is that we really need to consider the people who we are sending to fight.
Q: What is your favorite part about school?
A: I love to write and I have since elementary school. It’s my way to express myself. I guess I like to do research, too.
Q: Why Hawaii for university?
A: This fall I attended an education conference for native people that was held in South Dakota. Some of the participants were native Hawaiians. They are friendly, laid back, happy and family oriented. No drama. I like that.
Q: Do you do any volunteer work?
A: I have enjoyed helping with reading at Quil Ceda Elementary School, where my folks work. It’s been tough lately to fit it in because of college application essays and that stuff.
Q: Along with your high school work, you also are taking a college class, correct?
A:: Yes, my cousin Natosha Gobin teaches Lushootseed, our native Coast Salish language, and I have been taking the college-level class that she offers. In class, I also learn more about the culture, history and traditions of our Tulalip Tribes. Lushootseed is important to our culture. If people like me don’t work to carry it on, who will?
My grandparents, Bernie and Patti Gobin, taught me to know who I am and where I come from, and that is very important to me. The oral history and the morality tales, which I grew up hearing as bedtime stories, have to be carried on. I know my family lineage back to before the boarding school days, when, as children, my elders were taken away from their families.
Q: We understand a recent science lesson on ocean acidification called you to action.
A: We all need to understand and work to prevent pollution in our waters. It’s a very personal issue for me. The Coast Salish people have always depended on seafood. We fish. If I ever have children, I want them to be able to go to Mission Beach to fish.