Keegan Sugimura will be graduating from Liberty High School in June and her bags are packed.
It’s not that she’s eager to leave home, but she knows her future awaits.
She will study nursing at Carroll College in Helena; part of her tuition will be paid for by an academic scholarship.
Since January, she has been volunteering at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. She job-shadowed there for her senior project, including watching a knee and hip replacement in the cadaver lab.
But generally, Sugimura is not one to idly watch. She likes to stay busy and has done so much of her 18 years.
Since third grade, she has shown pigs and lambs through Future Farmers of America. She has also been involved in 4-H. For the last nine years, she has been singing with the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus, where she mentors younger singers.
She traveled to British Columbia and Costa Rica with the chorus, and in the latter destination she experienced a volcano eruption and visited a children’s home. Photo albums pay tribute to her experiences, and she proudly flips the pages, vividly describing the captured moments. “It’s important to enjoy the little things because someday you will realize that they were the big things,” she said.
While much of her time is spent singing, caring for her dozen or so animals and volunteering, she does have time to study hard enough to be in the Honor Society, serve as executive Associated Student Body council member and participate in Future Business Leaders of America.
To Sugimura, her accomplishments seem like no big deal; she is simply doing what she loves.
“Staying busy with activities you love will keep you out of trouble, and when you have a bad day, it’s always nice to have a furry friend who doesn’t care what happened but will always listen to what you have to say,” she said.
During a tour at her home west of Spokane, lambs and pigs look to her for attention as her dogs bound about and the chickens wonder if she’ll be stopping by for a visit. There are ducks, too, and a white box for beekeeping. When asked what will become of the menagerie after she heads off to Montana, she replied, “My brother will take over.”