Student spotlights for April 17

April 17, 2011 

To nominate a ninth- to 12th-grade student for Student Spotlight, fill out the following information and email it to, fax to 360-357-0202 or mail to PO Box 407, Olympia, WA 98507, attention Lisa Pemberton. Selected students must submit a photograph and fill out a questionnaire.

Provide the student’s name, age, grade, school name, telephone number and/or email address (email preferred); a quote about the student from a school staff member; and the name of the nominator and contact information.

Kenzie Nix

Age: 18.

School: North Thurston High School in Lacey.

Parents or guardians: Zeryn Zaire and Jan Nix.

Best personal achievement: Taking the entire team to the state cross-country my senior year.

How I spend my time: Running, working, school, spending time outdoors, going to sports events, eating, swimming, kayaking and sleeping.

Favorite subjects: Human anatomy and Advanced Placement government.

Favorite movie: “Pay it Forward.”

Favorite book: “A Time for Dancing” by Davida Wills Hurwin.

Dream job: Dermatologist.

Someone I respect: My sister, Kate.

The hardest part of being a student is: Balancing everything that the adult world is asking of you while still trying to have fun and be a kid.

My ambitions or career aspirations include: Going to medical school and becoming a successful dermatologist.

Someone famous I would like to meet: Jane Goodall.

Someday, looking back on my life, I’ll be able to say: “I changed someone’s life for the better.”

Biggest challenge facing teenagers today: Being asked to accept responsibilities without the freedom that is associated with adulthood.

One thing in the world I would change if I could: Fighting wars over resources.

Nominated by: English teacher Nani Duvall, who wrote, “Kenzie Nix is an all around outstanding student. She manages to keep up with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum while at the same time being an ASB officer and being involved with cross country, orchestra and numerous community service clubs.”

Kirstin Wagner

Age: 17.

School: Olympia High School.

Parents or guardians: Mark and Kathy Wagner.

Best personal achievement: Living for a year in Machala, Ecuador, as a Rotary Youth Exchange student. I discovered that learning new languages brings me true happiness. Even in the first couple months when I stumbled through most conversations and indiscriminately answered “si!” to most questions, I loved it.

How I spend my time: Lately I’ve spent a lot of time after school working on plays at OHS. “Dramafest” was the first play I’ve ever acted in and I really enjoyed it so I tried out for the musical as well.

Favorite subjects: Foreign languages and literature. I really liked my creative writing class this year too. Writing for fun wasn’t something I’d done before, but I ended up having a great time.

Favorite movie: I’m not sure I really have a favorite movie but I have watched “Moulin Rouge” an embarrassing number of times.

Favorite book: “La Casa de los Espiritus” by Isabel Allende.

Dream job: My dream job incorporates learning new languages and traveling the world. Maybe a translator? Or diplomat? I’m not sure if I’ll ever find that job exactly. I want to be in the Peace Corps someday.

Someone I respect: I really respect one of my best friends, Katie Kooi. She’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met and is so sincere, nice and welcoming that people are drawn to her.

The hardest part of being a student is: Finding enough hours in the day to fit in schoolwork, other activities and some sleep.

My ambitions or career aspirations include: I feel an itch to go live in other countries and learn about other cultures and people.

Someone famous I would like to meet: There are many famous people that I truly admire and respect; however, I think I learn more from the everyday people around me. Everyone has something they’re really good at, whether it’s hard work, or staying positive or determination. You can learn a lot from the people you see every day.

Someday, looking back on my life, I’ll be able to say: “I was happy. And, that I was a good person who helped others.” Hopefully I can look back and say, “I didn’t leave a huge carbon footprint behind me,” too.

Biggest challenge facing teenagers today: I think it is probably a lack of belief in the possibility of reaching our goals. A lot of teenagers don’t follow through with ideas and plans because they don’t think they’ll ever work. When I went through the application process to be an exchange student and eventually ended up in Ecuador, I realized that by keeping our eyes open for opportunities and working hard we can go almost wherever we want in life.

One thing in the world I would change if I could: I would have every child grow up in a loving family. I think that in itself would solve a lot of the world’s problems.

Nominated by: School counselor Brian Wentz, who wrote: “Kirstin is a person who seeks challenge and adventure. She is a student; pushing herself to be the best student she can be, taking honors and Advanced Placement classes, not for how they look on a transcript but for the love of learning. … Kirstin is a genuinely kind and compassionate person who serves in leadership with Rotary Interact club and is committed to service. She is kind and graceful, at ease in any situation, and is a person who will truly make a difference.”

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