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Students in the Summer Stretch Robotics class work on their projects.

Stella Sisson and Ayan Hersi follow their passion at places they feel connected to

By Jessica Nguyen

RAHS senior Stella Sisson demonstrates her technique for rock climbing.
Photo courtesy of Stella Sisson

RAHS students are taking up internships that match with their own passions in order to dive deeper into what interests them.

RAHS senior Stella Sisson recently became an intern at the Seattle Bouldering Project (SBP) to teach children how to rock climb.

“I’m a Youth Programs intern so I work with 2 other co-team leads and about 10 kids between the ages of 10 to 12 [for] 2 days a weeks for about 3 hours,” said Sisson.

Interning at the SBP requires a lot of experience with rock climbing and knowledge of climbing techniques to be able to help others.

“We just teach them the fundamentals of climbing,” said Sisson, “so like how to position your body correctly to save you the most energy and climbing with straight arms and how they can improve with techniques and things like that.”

In addition to doing one of her favorite pastimes, Sisson is obtaining PE credits for her time spent rock climbing.

“Climbing is my hobby and it’s my sport and it’s just something I really, really love to do,” said Sisson. “I’ve been climbing competitively, when I was in 6th grade in Youth Program at the SBP, and in 7th grade I joined the competitive climbing team there.”

Sisson has been rock climbing since she was 8 years old and has been continuously climbing ever since.

“I started climbing when I was 8 in YMCA in Idaho and my dad in 6th grade convinced me to sign up for bouldering classes for my middle school,” said Sisson. “I was really apprehensive and I really wasn’t really sure that I really wanted to do it. I decided to try since I was in this new school anyways. I ended up really loving it.”

Having an internship at the Seattle Bouldering Project was the natural subsequent step for Sisson. She encourages other students to try out rock climbing and sees the benefits of the sport.

“The internship wasn’t really open. I made it for myself if that makes sense because I know everyone there, [and] they’ve known me for a very long time; it was like the next natural step in my time here since I’ve been climbing there for so long anyway,” said Sisson. “If you have climbing experience and you really like kids and you love being at SBP then I would say why not because it’s really awesome and the people that teach these programs are a really cool group of people.”

Rock climbing has also impacted Sisson as a person in a positive way.

“I would love to teach climbing. I think it’s a cool skill set because it’s a whole body skill set, it’s not just one part,” said Sisson. “I don’t know if I would do it for my full time career but I see the benefits. Like my coaches [have] impacted me and my experiences as a youth and also as someone who actually is an intern at this place.”  

RAHS sophomore student Ayan Hersi is becoming an intern at the Seattle Aquarium because she is drawn to marine life.

“I signed up because of my interest in marine life and conservation,” said Hersi. “I’m really passionate about marine life because of how fascinating it is.”

Hersi hopes to get more people interested into marine biology.

I want to inspire people, promote conversation and educate people on the marine-rich environment we have in Washington,” said Hersi. “What motivated me to join this program is that I would be able to talk about topics I’m passionate about.”

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