School: Timberline High School in Lacey.
Parents or guardians: Etta and Roger Perry.
Best personal achievement: Being promoted to editor in chief of my high school’s newspaper, The Blazer.
How I spend my time: I spend a lot of time cooking. Starting from scratch with basic ingredients and turning them into something wonderful and life-sustaining is very rewarding.
Favorite subjects: Language arts and biology.
Favorite movies: “Fight Club” and “There Will Be Blood.”
Favorite book: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams.
Dream job: Editor in chief of Rolling Stone or Vogue.
Someone I respect: I respect my mother more than anyone in the world. She raised me by herself, served her country for 20 years and managed to be a pristine role model the entire time. If I could be half as brave, independent or driven as she is, then I would be satisfied with my character.
The hardest part of being a student is: The expectations; for kids my age they are high. When our parents were young, it was a manageable task to save money for college, get an apartment, and maybe even a car and still remain relatively debt-free. For middle class students today, simply paying for a year of in-state, public college tuition can be enough to force you to take out a loan. We’re told we can be anything we set our minds to. Want to be an astronaut? Go to school! A doctor? Go to school! A teacher? School, school, school! Don’t work some silly job flipping burgers or waiting tables. Get an education. Yet, when we ask how we’re supposed to afford this schooling, no one really has an answer. So we flip burgers and wait tables, perfectly respectable professions, to pay for these dreams, and we’re frowned upon for working such “easy” jobs. The expectations our parents, and often our peers, put on us to get degrees and work fantastic jobs confuse and scare us.
My ambitions or career aspirations include: I would like to get a Ph.D. and go into teaching and research at a California or Washington university. I love to learn. I love to be in the classroom setting, and this way I would never have to leave it.
Someone famous I would like to meet: Michelle Obama. She is a fantastic role model for girls, and for women of color. She is educated, classy, and beautiful — everything I hope to be as an adult.
Someday, looking back on my life, I’ll be able to say: “I may have raised some eyebrows, but I always stayed true to myself and my morals. I honestly never cared what anyone thought of me.”
Biggest challenge facing teenagers today: Figuring out what they want to do with their lives without being pressured by family, friends, or TV to simply pick a career that is glamorous or pays well.
One thing in the world I would change if I could: It would be that every human being had equal rights, regardless of skin color, gender, sexuality or religion. The reality is that many people in the world actually having to fight to be equal, even here in the United States.
Nominated by: Language arts teacher Dan Hardebeck. He wrote: “Raquel Sejour is an outstanding student, enrolled in several Advanced Placement classes and maintaining a high grade-point average. What truly sets Raquel apart is her amazing work ethic and tremendous sense of leadership. Raquel always goes far above and beyond expectations. As editor in chief of the school newspaper, she sees to it that she sets an example for younger students. She makes plans, and then backup plans, and then backups for the backup. Raquel accomplishes great things because she simply refuses to be out-worked by anyone.”