May 1, 2000
by Bronwyn Wilson
People seem amazed when they hear how Samantha George, a junior at Chrysalis School in Woodinville, spends the money she earns.
Her out-of-the ordinary spending began soon after she struggled in math at her public high school last year. She looked into taking an additional math course at Chrysalis.
The more Samantha learned about the school with its individualized programs, she realized she wanted to attend full-time. But how to pay for it? No problem. She found a full-time nanny job and put her earnings toward the entire Chrysalis tuition.
"People have said to me, 'Think of what you could do with this much money, you could buy a new car,'" she said.
But Samantha feels the money is well spent. The new wheels will have to wait until after graduation from college. And Cornell Law School is her dream, not a shiny new Corvette.
The Duvall teenager now faces another obstacle. Although she loves riding her horses, she's decided to sell them to help pay for an upcoming big opportunity.
After passing an extensive application process, Samantha was accepted to the Junior Statesman Summer School Program at Stanford University. "I want to be in politics," she says, explaining that the classes include speech and communication, government, and law.
Looming ahead, though, is the $2,850 needed to attend. So she's saving money, writing letters to Duvall's business organizations and to businesses in the community in the quest for sponsors.
But if all else fails, she'll sell her horses. One of her horses was a present from her grandparents and the other is the horse's baby, so she didn't come easily to the decision. "But I figured," she says, "This is money I can count on."
Meanwhile, her greatest concern is school, "Just to keep ahead." And how's she doing in math? "Doing excellent," she says with a thumbs-up and a smile. "Getting an A. It's wonderful."
Not only is she excelling in her studies, but she also manages to volunteer for the Pals Program in Redmond, a program that teams up a volunteer with a person (usually of the same age) who has a disability. Samantha has signed up for the volleyball class and is waiting to hear who her "pal" will be.
Kyra Blair, a Chrysalis senior who lives in Carnation, is no less motivated in achieving her goals. An honor student, Kyra works as a restaurant hostess, along with attending classes, studying, and competing on the Washington State Soccer team, an exceptional team Kyra was accepted to after passing a series of try-outs.
Kyra, like Samantha, has law school dreams and will study pre-law next year at Chapman College in Orange, California. "I want to go to law school and become an entertainment lawyer. And my ultimate goal is to own a record label."
However, her more current plan is the prom on June 2nd. Chrysalis is hosting its first prom at the Monte Villa Farmhouse, and Kyra will be there with all her Chrysalis friends.
What motivates these two young women? Both students point to influential people in their lives. Kyra credits her parents for bringing out her strengths.
"The people I admire most are my parents and grandparents," Kyra says. "They encourage me to continue doing what I love."
Samantha acknowledges her employer, the lady who hired her to be her children's nanny. Since her employer once attended Cornell Law School and worked as a lawyer, Samantha hears firsthand experiences, and this has energized her love for the law.
Also, a former Chrysalis history teacher sparked her passion for world issues with lively class discussions about current events. The combination of these two people in Samantha's life has given her a desire to seek public office one day.