It had been 19 years since I set foot in a high school, and it was nothing like I remembered. The hallways were flooded with a sea of students, signaling that the final bell had rung even though I never heard the sound of an actual bell. The students were quiet and orderly as they headed toward the exits, some holding doors for me and others politely excusing themselves as they attempted to squeeze by in areas where the hallways and walkways were a bit more narrow. The walls throughout the school and gym prominently displayed the achievements of its current and past students in a wide range of co-curricular from athletics to robotics. I thought this was going to be a trip back in time, but instead, it turned out to be an introduction to a new generation of young people who are developing into kind, talented and amazing human beings.
The remainder of the session that I spent getting to know Christian while we ventured around the beautiful scenic Tolmie State Park further affirmed that. As a full-time participant in Tumwater High School's Running Start Program through South Puget Sound Community College, life for him mainly consists of sports and school - and maybe pulling the occasional prank on his siblings and mom. Even through his hectic schedule doesn't leave him much time for anything else beyond spending time with his family, Christian will assure you he's absolutely fine with that given his high level of commitment and focus on his academic studies is allowing him to graduate high school early with a years' worth of credit towards a college degree.