From a girl in STEM to a woman in design

Kerensa Suzara

By Phuong Lam, Hawkeye Staff

Kerensa Suzara, who describes herself as “charismatic, sentimental and driven,” was not only MTHS’s Big 6 president her senior year, but also a member of the Technology Student Association, or TSA, and played on the women’s tennis team for the last four years. Her role at MTHS the entire time she’s been here has impacted many students, friends, staff, teachers and anyone that has met Suzara.

The Associated Student Body (ASB) has played just as big of a role in Suzara’s high school journey as she has to Terrace just by being a part of the organization. She served as the MTHS Big 6 president her senior year, and has been a part of ASB for the past three years. 

“ASB helped me grow as a person,” Suzara said. “I was definitely more closed off and shy as a sophomore than I am now. I believe that ASB has helped me grow more confident in a leadership position and has helped me be more open to speak my mind.”

When she wasn’t busy preparing for assemblies or planning dances, Suzara was hard at work being a woman in STEM. Her TSA journey all started in middle school, and through restless nights, countless hours spent on projects, and the hardships that presented themselves at every turn, she has stuck through it till her senior year. This year, Suzara and her team went to place third in the categories of both scientific visualization and children’s stories in the Washington TSA competition. In previous years of competing in TSA, Suzara has placed fourth in video production and fourth in scientific visualization.

From the years of competing, Suzara has learned valuable lessons. 

“I learned to have more faith in myself, to stop invalidating my progress as a person and the importance of time management,” she said.

Along with being a part of the STEM, TSA and ASB programs at Terrace, art has also driven Suzara to pursue her passion on the next level. 

To achieve her dreams, Suzara is continuing her education next fall, studying design at Western Washington University. 

“I want to work with a company as a graphic designer and later on work independently,” she said. “I also want to do a lot of art projects, including another mural, especially after having so much fun doing one for Terrace. I want to inspire others and help bring a little light into the world, even if it’s small. I like to make a good impact on people.”

When Suzara started ASB, she first served as the president of the class of 2022 during her sophomore year. The following year, she served as the Big 6 treasurer, and finally worked up to her most recent and final position at MTHS, Big 6 president.

While Suzara went through tough classes, extracurricular responsibilities and had her fair share of challenges in her senior year, the place it got her was worth it.

“I’d compare senior year to a waterslide. You climb all these stairs, you sit down, go down the slide, and there’s a fun little splash at the end,” she said. “It was all hard in the beginning, and it’s kind of tiring while you’re figuring out future plans and how to understand stuff like calculus. It was also hard to move forward this year because of getting used to going back to school again, reviving work ethic and COVID restrictions.”

However, after she’d gotten through the challenge of climbing the ladder, Suzara could take in the view of everything she’d accomplished, and enjoy the rest of the way down.

“When you start settling down and getting all the work over with AP tests, projects and grad requirements, then you have all your fun stuff. There’s spring break, spirit weeks, assemblies, prom, and suddenly you’re done!” Suzara said. “Overall, it was a very exciting year.” 

Still, senior year wasn’t easy for many. At times the stress was overwhelming, with college applications, challenging classes and the unpredictable future looming ahead.

“Everything was overwhelming and took a toll on my mentality,” Suzara said. “I was stressed about settling my future plans, because it felt like the expectation was to already know what you want to do and which college or career you want to go into.”

Although COVID and the hardships that came with learning in person again posed a challenge for Suzara, she still found moments to cherish, no matter how big or small.

“Senior year gave me a lot of self-growth, memories and people I love,” she said. “These are the greatest rewards, as I feel a lot more support and readiness for the future. Now I’m able to look back on it to motivate myself as I look forward to my future endeavors.”

One of Suzara’s favorite memories from her senior year was when she and her friends went on the light rail to the University of Washington and ate at Din Tai Fung.

“We had to walk in the rain with our ice cream, which ended up being watered down by the rain,” she said. “It was hilarious, and we ended the day with blankets in my car.”

Throughout her time at Terrace, Suzara’s favorite class was French.

“I was never bored in French, especially with having fun video and skit projects, and Ms. Monrad always had funny stories to tell,” Suzara said. “She was a wonderful teacher and someone I could talk to for hours. She cares a lot for students and has confidence in all of them.”

While in her class, French teacher Heidi Monrad made sure Suzara and the rest of her students felt cared for, and created a fun classroom environment.

“She had interest in all of her students’ lives and checked in with all of us, and [I liked] how she felt comfortable being open to us about her life as well. I respect her efforts as a teacher and her as a person overall!” Suzara said.

Much of Suzara’s time at Terrace was spent painting an “Avatar: the Last Airbender” mural, planning spirit assemblies, stressing over college applications, drinking matcha lattes from Urban City Coffee and working hard to finish up her high school career. Wherever she goes in life, she’s sure to make a bright impression on those around her.

While she was active and integral in the Terrace community for years, Suzara learned lessons that she’ll keep close to her, and that others should as well.

“The biggest life lessons I learned, although fairly basic, were to believe in myself and enjoy the little things. I spent a lot of my high school career trying to be more like other people and stressing out instead of enjoying myself and enjoying my time with others,” Suzara said. “So, I advise any seniors to really, really live in the moment and enjoy your senior year.”