Growing up, Malik Washington witnessed his father wearing the uniform and going to work as a D.C. police officer, dedicating his life to a “greater cause” of serving and bettering the community.
Washington, a member of the class of 2017 at Archbishop Carroll High School in the nation’s capital, serves as his school’s student body president. At Carroll, he said he’s learned enduring lessons about leadership and serving others.
This summer, he will intern on Capitol Hill in the office of Montana Sen. Steve Daines, and the student said he hopes to one day serve in government himself, perhaps even as a member of Congress.
“Just to be able to help people in need – that’s why I want to go into politics,” said Washington, who is 18 and will be attending Providence College in Rhode Island this fall, where he plans to major in political science.
The graduating senior said he enjoyed volunteering with Archbishop Carroll’s Thanksgiving Food Drive, knowing that his and fellow students’ efforts were going toward helping families and children.
Serving in Carroll’s student government taught him the importance of listening to other students, trying to understand their needs and sharpened his problem solving skills, he said. Washington said he tried to be innovative and creative, and one of his achievements was helping to organize family activities before football games to build support for the team.
“Malik Washington is an example of a model of leadership that Catholic schools can provide (that is) so needed in our times,” said Beth Blaufuss, the president at Archbishop Carroll High School, which is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington. “He is highly influential among a wide array of his peers… because he is nice to all and true to his principles in a way his peers find inviting.”
Blaufuss also praised Washington for being adventurous in trying a range of activities at Carroll and also challenging classes in its rigorous International Baccalaureate program.
Washington said he especially enjoyed IB history, learning about American history and “how did we get to where we are today.”
A member of Carroll’s National Honor Society, Washington said his friends there “were the ones who pushed me to strive higher in academics,” and he praised his teachers for “their willingness to sacrifice for students and go overtime to make sure students understand material.”
That “community feeling with a religious background” is what drew him to Providence, which he said reminded him of Carroll. Washington, who is Christian and served as a peer minister at his Catholic high school, said going to Carroll reinforced to him “the importance of having faith, knowing even when things aren’t going right, you’ll always have your faith in God to come through for you.”
Washington expressed gratitude for his parents’ support and example. His father, Lindsey Washington, is now retired from the Metropolitan Police Department. His mother, Sandra Stackhouse, works night shifts at Safeway. He has two older sisters, and his younger sister, Rita, also is a student at Carroll.
“To be in a position to help my family in any way is what keeps me motivated every day,” he said.
Along the way to possibly working in government service, Washington said he is interested in going to law school and perhaps working as a corporate attorney. “Politics and law is something I want to pursue,” he said.
A criminal justice course at Archbishop Carroll taught by Catholic University law students helped spark his interest in law and politics. During summers, he has participated in hands-on activities at the Youth Law Fair in Washington, where he met attorneys and FBI agents; and at Envision’s National Youth Leadership Forum examining careers in law and crime scene investigation. He has also taken part in the FBI’s Future Agents in Training program.
Washington also sharpened his public speaking skills by being part of Carroll’s debate program during his sophomore year. His experiences at Archbishop Carroll High School “pushed me to be the student I am,” he said.
This summer he begins the next stage of his life a few miles away on Capitol Hill, taking with him what he’s learned about leadership and serving others.