The UW Bothell campus is about to get a little cooler, thanks to 17-year old Sky Valley High School senior Danika Hollefreund. Anyone exiting the south parking garage on a recent spring morning would have found it difficult to ignore two things – her excitement and her blue hair.
Hollefreund was on campus with her mom to complete paperwork. In the fall of 2014, she will begin her career at the University of Washington Bothell as a junior after transferring from Everett Community College’s Running Start program.
Many universities would likely be thrilled to welcome a student like Hollefreund, but they didn’t have a chance. “UW Bothell is the only school that I’ve applied to because this is the only one I wanted to go to,” she says. “I want a good education that I will remember and use when I go to get a job. I want to be able to better myself.”
“Everyone here is so nice and super helpful,” says Hollefreund. “The campus is gorgeous.” An ambitious student with a broad range of interests, from Japanese language and computers to playing and teaching music, Hollefreund’s work ethic and outlook are due in part to her family’s approach to education and community.
Hollefreund teaches music to children and teens during the summer and her mother mows senior citizens’ lawns for free in addition to tutoring both high school biology and sixth grade math. Her mother, Michelle, explains the family’s passion for paying it forward, “We decided that in whatever way you’ve been gifted, you need to find someone you can help.”
Actually, Hollefreund already has a job. Attending UW Bothell will allow her to live at home while working her way through college. As the oldest child in a single income family of six, she is also the first in her extended family to attend a four-year college. Though she is creating a path for herself through higher education, her siblings are not far behind; one of her sisters is currently in Running Start with another to follow in 2015.
Hollefreund says she looks forward to the fall as she continues her education and reconnects with close friends who will also be attending UW Bothell, including two who will travel from Tennessee.
“I am so excited. As I walk through campus, I look at her and think ‘You have gone further than everyone in your family, grandparents, parents, all of my siblings,” says Hollefreund’s mother. “This is the pinnacle. I am so proud. Ever since I was in high school, the University of Washington was unattainable, and here she is.”
When asked whether Hollefreund’s siblings would attend the UW Bothell, her mom says, “Absolutely!”