Douglas Curtis: New ASB President


Junior Douglas Curtis, who recently won the election for 2016-2017 school year ASB president, smiles for a photo. While Douglas devotes much of his time to ASB, he also partakes in a myriad of other activities ranging from dance to medical internships. Photo by Katie Klein.

When speaking with junior Douglas Curtis, one eminent factor is consistently and undeniably evident: his unwavering ambition. Douglas is known on campus for his wide array of interests: he dances, is fluent in Spanish, spent his summer studying human anatomy while working at a morgue and is extremely passionate about his top priority, the Associate Student Body (ASB). So when Douglas decided to run for ASB President for the upcoming school year, not many were surprised by his enthusiasm and commitment to his campaign.

Douglas started out his ASB career as the vice-president of his freshman class, and admits that his initial induction into the tight-knit sixth-period class was both frightening and intimidating. However, one particular event completely shifted his attitude towards ASB from anxiety to excitement.

“After homecoming, that glorious event that takes so much work and so much planning, I really realized that ASB brings people together, and I wanted to play a huge part in that,” Douglas said. “Around sophomore year, I knew I wanted to be president, or play some [other] really large role, and so I did what I could to work towards that.”

In many ways, Douglas has had his eye on the prize since the start of his freshman year. As he describes it, his campaign for President has been “three years long,” an indication of Douglas’s belief that every responsibility he has taken on since his initial involvement in ASB has served as a contributing factor to the campaign that won him the presidency.

“As soon as I started freshman year and I knew that ASB was something I wanted to do, I thought, ‘If I want to do something big, I need to make sure that this is who I am, and I need to represent myself throughout my entire high school experience,’” Douglas said. “So it was just continuing what I have been [doing] these last three years, [but] showing people a bit more. Like, ‘Here is a whole infographic about what I’m doing!’”

Douglas’ main goal as president will be to “make sure that people have the best high school experience they possibly can and making everyone a part of the blue at Los Altos.” However, his social adaptability and outgoing nature extend farther than just the high school environment.

After beginning a 50-hour per week summer internship at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto performing autopsies, Douglas knew he wanted to pursue medicine in his future. His aspirations to become a doctor are not grounded in research or analytical studies, but rather in the human aspect of the medical profession.

“I definitely want to work with people hands-on, so [I don’t want] to go into the research… I want to be that side of a doctor where you get to experience what the patients are going through,” Douglas said. “[I want] to make sure that I am not only a source of medical help, but also a therapeutic person that they can rely on… When people are going through a hard time, I think it is really important to reach out and give the resources that you have. Obviously it is important to recognize that you need to support yourself, but when you are in a good place — and I am so lucky and blessed to be in a good place myself — I think it’s important to give back and make sure that as many people as possible that are around you are in a good place too.”

This motto of “giving back” seems to guide Douglas through most of his aspirations, both daily and long-term. He recognizes the immense time commitment of being ASB president, but it doesn’t faze him. In fact, he welcomes the increased responsibility.

“For me, it’s never been about how much work or how much time it’s going to take,” Douglas said. “The biggest thing was just being frank with myself, saying that if this is something I want to do, then I need to work for it. And it was no question in my mind that I was willing to do that work, because reciprocity is a huge thing for me. ASB and Los Altos High School [have given me so much], so I am more than happy to put just as much work [into them] as they have into me.”

Douglas acknowledges the fact that a bit of timidity is inevitable when trying new things. But what drives him just as much as his undying eagerness to give back is his utter fearlessness. He knows that his openness about his identity will help others struggling to accept themselves, and so whether it is spending his time volunteering after school at a group-home for disabled children or throwing himself into the rhythm dancing at the Diversity Assembly to dance for Latino Student Union, Douglas does not try to hide what makes him different, or rather, unique.

“I am very proud of who I am,” Douglas said. “I’m Latino, I’m gay [and] I’m a lot of other things. I think it’s important that we learn how to embrace ourselves, and maybe we don’t have to go around the world shouting it out, but [we should] be upfront with who we are and confident in ourselves, because we can help other people with our stories.”

Douglas practices to dance in the Diversity Assembly with fellow Latino Student Union member junior Yesenia Gutierrez.
Douglas practices to dance in the Diversity Assembly with fellow Latino Student Union member junior Yesenia Gutierrez. Photo by Katie Klein.