2016-17 Seattle Youth Commissioners
Leila has lived her entire life in the Central District of Seattle. She is 15 years old and is going into her sophomore year at Garfield High School. She has always been an advocate for social justice, especially for issues surrounding homelessness. This is something Leila has been passionate about since the fourth grade, when she began volunteering at a local homeless shelter. When she is not volunteering, she enjoys hanging out with friends, reading, and playing soccer. Her favorite thing to do is travel and has visited Mexico, Ecuador, Italy, France and Greece. She just recently returned from a month-long service trip to Ethiopia, where she worked with students to breakdown cultural barriers and discussed ways to create equal education opportunities globally. She is looking forward to diving into issues like gentrification and homelessness as a Youth Commissioner.
Ziah is in 9th grade at University Prep in Seattle. She has lived in the Beacon Hill and Central District area in Seattle her entire life. Seattle is her community and her home. She is very active in her community and volunteers whenever she gets the chance. She chose to join Seattle Youth Commission because she wanted to help find solutions in addressing important issues happening in Seattle such as violence, homelessness and affordable housing. Along with her fellow Youth Commissioners, she hopes to make a positive change in Seattle. Ziah loves to collaborate and listen to others ideas and understands the importance of people coming together to represent and serve their community. Ziah also enjoys sports, theatre and dance. She loves studying science, civics, law and history. Collaborating with and volunteering for local city art projects is something she loves as well. Ziah is excited to continue to work with the commission this year and learn even more about local government and how to make a positive impact on the issues she cares about.
Andy Huynh is an 18 year old activist and journalist. Right out of Cleveland High School, Huynh continues to serve his community. Andy lives in the South Beacon Hill neighborhood and will be attending South Seattle Community College in the coming year. He plans to study computer science. The issues he is particularly passionate about are homelessness and discrimination. He enjoys sleeping in his free time.
Jess Juanich is a recent Garfield High School graduate and a rising freshman at Seattle University. Jess is an active member in his Central District community serving the Rotary Boys & Girls Club as a youth development associate. During his time at Garfield, Jess was involved with Student Government and engaged in issues surrounding youth homelessness and education for people of color. He has organized multiple fundraisers to benefit the community such as Socktober, an all school sock drive held in October to help homeless youth in Seattle. Jess plans to continue to be involved in his community and will plan to study International Studies or Accounting at Seattle U.
Victoria Johnson is a sophomore at Summit Sierra High School, a new public charter school is Seattle. Her school is located in the International District. She spent many hours going to Olympia advocate to keep her school open. She loves to volunteer in her community with people of diverse backgrounds. Last year, she took a class in school called Civic Engagement and it really brought to her attention issues facing adults and youth today. She is especially interested in the homeless crisis that Seattle is facing right now.
Annie (Bishop Blanchet, '17) was born and raised in Seattle and has lived in the Seward Park neighborhood her whole life. She wants to work to fight homelessness and gender pay disparity. Through working with the Commission she wants to learn more about the political process and how to serve effectively in government. Annie is also passionate about getting more students involved in local government so they can have a voice in the future of Seattle. At Blanchet she plays on the varsity basketball team, is a member of the Brave Hearts club and has had First Honors each semester. She also plays AAU basketball year round.
Kaileah Mayer is a 9th grader at Lakeside School and has lived in Seattle her entire life. This is her first year on Seattle Youth Commission. She is excited to meet her fellow commissioners from different walks of life, and together solve the issues presented to them. Kaileah's social awareness started very early, as she would ask questions about many current events, and participated in many marches (Trayvon Martian march-2012) and campaigns (Targeted Local Hire-2013) with her father. This helped her understand the need for social change in the world, especially in her community. Kaileah is a 2014 winner of the Rainier Scholars' Academic Excellence Award. She enjoys the arts, playing the upright bass and performing in school productions. She also enjoys being active on her volleyball team.
James is a sophomore at an online high school, WAVA-OMAK, but tries to still be active in his community while he focuses on his education. He lives in the Ballard neighborhood. In his free time, he enjoys classical ballet instruction, stress-baking, writing, and spending time with his pets. He is an LGBT teen who hopes to focus on civil rights, affordable housing, and environmental issues in his upcoming term on the Youth Commission.
Clarissa Perez has proudly been a part of the White Center community for over 15 years. She is currently a sophomore at Chief Sealth International High School and is considered to be an ambitious, respectable, and empowering young leader amongst her peers and colleagues. She is passionate about social justice, environmentalism, and youth empowerment. Aside from being a proud intersectional feminist, she enjoys hiking, swimming, and talking to everyone. Clarissa hopes to bring to light the environmental issues that low-income communities in the Seattle area are facing, along with providing more job and internship opportunities for youth of color.
Becky Scurlock is an 18-year-old senior at Lakeside School, and has always lived in Seattle. She is excited to start her second year on the Seattle Youth Commission and is confident about the progress she and other students can make on local issues. For the past couple years, Becky has been working to create a website that provides resources and inspiration to young people who want to make an impact on social issues. She is also very involved in her school's leadership positions, participating in the Student Health Advocacy Committee, Leadership Institute, Service Learning Advisory Board, and Student Dialogue Facilitation Program. Becky sees the Seattle Youth Commission as a fantastic opportunity to expand beyond her school to make a difference on the city level. In her free time, Becky also enjoys running, playing the viola, and participating in Model United Nations.
Dhani is a freshman at Ballard High School and lives in the West Woodland area of the Ballard neighborhood. She plays the viola and runs on her school's cross country team. She likes to spend time with friends, travel, eat, and listen to music and considers herself ambitious, curious, and realistic. She is interested in being part of a team that creates both short term and long term solutions to issues that impact Seattle's youth community. She is particularly interested in tackling race and equity issues. With the help of local government and her fellow youth community, she hopes to create positive change surrounding problems faced by minority students.
Isabella Sundy is a senior at Bishop Blanchet High School. At her school she is continuing her fourth year on the mock trial team and is also a student ambassador. Once a week she volunteers at CCSWW-Youth Tutoring Program in Lake City. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and plays for her school in the spring. This is Isabella's second year serving on SYC and she looks forward to achieving the goals set by the economic development sub-committee.
Carter Sylvia is a student activist who hails from Northeast Seattle. He has spent much of his youth participating in demonstrations and activities intended to both increase awareness, and demand social and environmental justice for low income communities and communities of color. Carter's interest in joining the Seattle Youth Commission is also fueled by his desire to advocate for local homeless youth and families. Carter also enjoys rowing, basketball, and videogames. Carter is a recipient of a George Pocock Rowing Foundation Youth Scholarship, and will be rowing on the Junior Boys Rowing Team at the Pocock Rowing Center. He also looks forward to beginning his freshman year at Nathan Hale high school this fall. Carter believes citizen involvement in local government is an essential way to enact positive change in his community, and hopes to learn a great deal about policy making, as well as how the political process works. Carter is extremely proud of his community and takes great pride in representing his district on the Seattle Youth Commission!
Xochitl Wilder is a seventeen year old student recently graduated from The Center School and is close to earning an Associate's Degree at Seattle Central Community College. She then plans to pursue a degree in government at 4-year university. Xochitl has been on the Seattle Youth Commission for a year, serving on the Public Safety Committee. She co-founded the Junior State of America club at her high school, and was a devoted debater in my advanced placement American history course at Roosevelt High School. She has testified at a public hearing concerning homelessness and met with her district's representative to encourage the approval of a bill to protect the environment at Olympia. Xochitl hopes to engage the public in city government to form a true "by the people, for the people" system and involve police in lower income communities through seminars and late night teen kits to prevent profiling and lower crime rates.
Catherine is currently a junior at Ingraham High School currently finishing the second year of the IB program. She would like to raise awareness in Seattle about mental health and civic engagement, and is excited to talk about these issues in the Seattle Youth Commission. Her interest in political change arose when she began policy debate in high school, where she serves as a varsity debater and officer in the club. Besides debate, she enjoys dance and writing.