RHS senior serving as Seafair Ambassador

Hailey Hargraves, a senior at Redmond High School (RHS), is one of six students serving as Seafair Ambassadors during Seattle’s summer extravaganza of parades, air and water shows and more.

Hailey Hargraves, a senior at Redmond High School (RHS), is one of six students serving as Seafair Ambassadors during Seattle’s summer extravaganza of parades, air and water shows and more.

Sponsored by BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union), the ambassador program awards college scholarships and a trip to Japan to students who are “well-spoken and confident,” concerned about business and environmental issues, and “academically and otherwise well-rounded,” said Dan Wartelle, public relations director for Seafair.

This year’s selection process began March 15 at Qwest Field, with a day of speakers including King County Executive Ron Sims and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the great-granddaughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and vice-president of global corporate citizenship at Boeing.

Around 150 high school students attended and developed synthesis statements based on the presentations, Wartelle explained. The Seafair Board of Directors reviewed them, picked 12 students to interview and narrowed them down to the final half-dozen.

“We look forward to having them with us throughout the summer and fall,” said Wartelle. “They’re asked to volunteer at all Seafair events, especially the marathon, triathlon and Torchlight Run, handing out medals and so forth. They also participate in the July 5th Milk Carton Derby and carry the lead banner at the Torchlight Parade.”

In September, a delegation from Kobe, Japan comes to Seattle. The Seafair Ambassadors will escort them to places like Seattle City Hall, the Pike Place Market and the Capitol in Olympia. Then in late October, the Seafair Ambassadors will travel to Kobe to sightsee and visit schools.

The commitment doesn’t end there. Seafair Ambassadors will also help out at a December cruise for more than 2,200 developmentally disabled adults on Lake Union and Lake Washington, stuffing gift bags for the guests and helping them on and off the boats.

Hargraves’ older sister, Morgan, was a Seafair Ambassador in 2004 and had a very positive experience. That partially motivated Hailey, whose parents both work in the Lake Washington School District, to enter this year’s competition. But what really excited her was the opportunity to hear a speech by BuiltGreen director Aaron Adelstein.

Hailey was very active in the AP Environmental Science program and Environmental Club at RHS this past school year, and since she’d worked with a team to develop a low-carbon emissions community, she jumped at the chance to hear Adelstein’s views.

In an excerpt from her synthesis statement, Hailey wrote, “One of the first things Mr. Adelstein mentioned … was how each and every decision we make in our lives is environmental. Do I buy locally grown produce? Bring my own cloth bag to the grocery store? Recycle, even when it isn’t convenient? Walk instead of ride? Wear a sweatshirt instead of turning up the thermostat? When Mr. Adelstein stated that over 30 percent of the U.S. market makes purchasing decisions based on moral and ethical values, my mind replaced the OVER with ONLY. We need to change that statistic.”

Later in her written statement, she introduced the concept of extending this behavior beyond her own campus. While continuing her work with the RHS Environmental Club and RYPAC (Redmond Youth Partnership Advisory Committee), she wants to reach out to students at so-called “rival” high schools Lake Washington and Eastlake and get them involved in a unified effort.

“Since all three schools use Redmond’s services, we could have a real chance of meeting with the Parks Department, making our top concerns known to the City Council (which is aired on public access television) or organizing park clean-ups,” Hailey suggested. “Then, once each year, representatives or ‘delegates’ would convene at the district level in an organized cultural festival. … This ‘Green Conscience’ could eventually expand to other high schools in the state. Discussing, debating and deliberating solutions would lead to action.”

In addition to her environmental activities, Hailey plays bass clarinet in the RHS band, is a member of the National Honor Society, treasurer of the RHS Key Club, volunteers in the Neighborhood Schoolhouse program at Redmond Elementary and works part-time at Naartje in Redmond Town Center.

She said she’s not sure of her career goals yet, but she thinks of herself as a “people person” and gravitates toward people who are both well-informed and willing to take a stand on what they believe, “unlike people who say, ‘This is how I feel’ but have nothing to back it up or say why.”

Check out www.seafair.com.