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For Medical Lake grad, leadership has staying power

Alex Garza is the notable senior from Medical Lake High School. (COURTESY OF MEDICAL LAKE HIGH / COURTESY OF MEDICAL LAKE HIGH)
Alex Garza is the notable senior from Medical Lake High School. (COURTESY OF MEDICAL LAKE HIGH / COURTESY OF MEDICAL LAKE HIGH)

Medical Lake senior Alex Garza had high hopes for what life would be like in high school, but he admits that he never thought it would turn out as well as it has.

“High school has been way better than I thought it would be,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be involved, but I didn’t think I’d be this involved.”

Leadership has been a key element of Garza’s high school experience. He was class vice president during his sophomore year, and has served as Associated Student Body executive treasurer for the past two years.

“A friend was running for president of our sophomore class, and so I decided to run for VP,” he said. “After that, I knew that I wanted to have a leadership role in the school. I saw how involved our student leaders were, how that seemed to make their high school careers more satisfying. I wanted to be part of that.”

That decision kicked off a hectic three years that have found Garza balancing a demanding academic program with athletics and a part-time job at Yoke’s, where he sometimes does his homework on breaks.

“I’ve tried to be well-rounded,” he said. “In addition to my leadership activities, I’ve played football and soccer, taken three Advanced Placement courses and had a part-time job. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s all about balance.”

All Garza’s hard work paid off this winter when he was notified that he had been the recipient of a Gonzaga University Regent’s Scholarship, enabling him to attend the university he’d dreamed about for years.

Garza plans to major in human physiology and hopes to become a physical therapist.

“My focus will be on academics, but I still want to be involved in some way in leadership activities,” he said.

Garza’s journey hasn’t been without setbacks, especially earlier this year, when his 19-year-old cousin died unexpectedly. His cousin had been a huge part of the Medical Lake community, and he and Alex were very close.

“He handled that in a way that not many kids would,” said Lori Wilbanks, Garza’s counselor and leadership teacher at Medical Lake. “He bounced back, kept coming to school, and somehow managed to maintain his focus here as he dealt with that.

“I’ve known Alex for three years,” she continued. “He’s one of those kids you can always count on. He’s got a unique sense of humor, and he’s always been a go-to in ASB when I needed something done. He’s got a core group of friends, but he also challenges himself by interacting with other kids.”

Garza is looking forward to the next steps in his life, and he feels that his willingness to push himself in high school will pay off in his future endeavors.

“I’ve been successful in high school because I’ve worked hard and stayed focused, and I think those qualities will help me in every aspect of my life.”


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