Newport student finds learns to step out of his comfort zone

Newport High School senior Perry Nunes has learned quite a few things during his years at school. Stepping out of his comfort zone has been one of the more important lessons of late.

Students from Newport High School's APSEN club hold the Seattle AIDS Walk banner at the beginning of last year's event

Newport High School senior Perry Nunes has learned quite a few things during his years at school.

Stepping out of his comfort zone has been one of the more important lessons of late.

Nunes is a member of ASPEN, Newport’s advanced health class, in which students learn extensively about HIV/AIDS, and then teach other students about STDs, HIV/AIDS, and safe sex practices.

The student group was first created by Newport teacher Barbara Velategui 17 years ago. Today, there is an application and interview process, sifting through the roughly 120 student applicants each spring.

“I was one of the lucky ones who was chosen to join ASPEN as a junior,” Nunes explained. “When I was first introduced to the group as a freshman, I knew right away it was something I could stand behind and get involved with. I saw how influential the students were and knowing the importance of sexual and health education, I wanted to be a part of it.”

Nunes first joined ASPEN in the beginning of his junior year and together with other members, raised more than $44,000 for Lifelong AIDS Alliance. This year, Nunes is hosting a recycling event to fundraise for the upcoming Seattle AIDS Walk on September 25.

“Each year, we try to host a variety of fundraisers to raise awareness and funding for the Seattle AIDS Walk,” he said.

Nunes and the rest of the APSEN members held the Seattle AIDS Walk banner at the beginning of last year’s event, leading the way for the annual walk.

“That was a really big honor,” Nunes said.

To do his part in fundraising for this year’s walk, Nunes partnered with 1Green Planet to host a community recycling event. On September 11, the public can bring old appliances and furniture to the upper parking lot at Newport High School to be recycled in an eco-friendly manner. The donation-based event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To learn more about Seattle AIDS Walk, visit http://www.seattleaidswalk.org/. To learn more about 1Green Planet, visit http://1greenplanet.org/.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425-453-4602.


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