Port Townsend High School graduating senior Finn O’Donnell spent his high school career getting a head start. He began early paving his path to further education, balancing both Advanced …
Port Townsend High School graduating senior Finn O’Donnell spent his high school career getting a head start. He began early paving his path to further education, balancing both Advanced Placement and Running Start classes for college credit.
“I tried to work a lot, consistently throughout high school, and spend time volunteering, doing internships,” O’Donnell explained.
It doesn’t quite feel real yet that it’s all ending, he said, counting the days until graduation.
“All-in-all, I did not think high school would go by this quickly.”
With post-graduation plans that are Washington, D.C. bound, he cited the many reasons why his future is a politically-driven one.
Aside from his avid participation in mock trials and student government, the senior really enjoyed civics classes in school taught by Ben Dow and Julianne Dow.
Between the two of them, the duo teaches several social studies and history classes that are structured in a way that provides students with a continuous, well-made, and well-informed learning experience, O’Donnell said.
“I’ve always been very interested in government and in politics, but they certainly encouraged that interest,” he added.
But his biggest motivation for pursuing politics has come from observing his mother, Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean.
“She works in local government and is a force in local politics,” he explained.
“Getting to see her deal with really interesting, real problems has made me want to do the same.”
After graduation, the son of Kate Dean and Will O’Donnell is headed to the American University, trading in Washington state for Washington, D.C. He said his plan is to study government and someday work in government relations, or lobbying.
“It’s going to be very interesting not recognizing everybody I see,” O’Donnell said about his pending move across the country.
It’s going to be a nice change, he explained, and he’s looking forward to being immersed in “a more diverse community … and being exposed to people with much different life experiences.”
On his journey, he will be carrying Port Townsend and its spirit with him.
“It’s shown me that community can do a lot. We’re lucky enough to live in an area with a lot of very generous people,” O’Donnell said.
He spoke of the people in the area – everyone chipping in, willing to do the work to better their community.
“People in a tight-knit community care about each other. That’s something that I really value.”
Being from a small school was both a blessing and a curse.
“My entire class and my entire school, we all know each other really well,” he said.
“That’s great because you can have a conversation with anyone because you have shared experiences with everyone.”
“But at the same time, it’s hard to keep secrets. It’s hard to not interact with people you don’t want to interact with,” he continued.
However, when it comes to his fellow graduates, O’Donnell had best wishes for their future.
“I do hope that everybody finds something that they enjoy doing and are good at.”
O’Donnell hopes that his classmates will find where they belong, and that they “take the really great spirit of community, of PT, and bring it to other place or keep it going here.”
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