JASON RANTZ

20-year-old candidate battling cancer wants to fight for Northshore students

Aug 2, 2021, 5:09 AM | Updated: 11:18 am
Northshore School District...
(Northshore School District)
(Northshore School District)

At the age of 19, Michael Albrecht was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and was given six months to live. Now he’s running for a seat on the Northshore School Board.

“While this scared me, I did not give up,” Albrecht said. “I went through chemotherapy treatment and surgery, and eventually had my life expectancy extended.”

He said his perspective on life changed.

“I don’t want to wait until I’m in my 50s or 60s to make a difference in my community,” Albrecht said. “I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth, but I want to make sure I spend every second doing something that matters.”

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Albrecht is running for a seat on the school board for Northshore School District 1. It wasn’t too long ago that he was a student at one of the schools – Northcreek High School.

He said seeing the pain and suffering in the Northshore School District prompted him to run for the children of the district.

Albrecht said he polled hundreds of high school kids in the district and 78% of them reported having high anxiety or mental health issues, like depression, as a result of attending school online.

He wants to make sure all students have the benefit of a full in-person curriculum.

“My school district was actually the first in the nation to shut down,” Albrecht said. “I think they deserve a lot of credit for that. But they have been one of the slowest in the state to be reopened.”

He said he wants to make sure students have resources they need to help face those mental challenges, “because school is not just a place for academics.”

As for Critical Race Theory, Albrecht said he’s had teachers in the district tell him they’d leave if the district adopts it as part of the curriculum. He said he studied CRT while attending the University of Washington.

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“What it teaches you is that every American institution has racism at its core. And because of that, every disparity is because of racist policies. Well, there are many factors that influence disparities, not just racism. We need to realize that. When we have racial curriculums in our schools, we want to make sure that it is evidence based and age appropriate.”

Albrecht said there’s skepticism around his age and his health, but he assures voters he’s as healthy as ever.

“My life expectancy has been extended by years,” he said. “As far as my age, I have plenty of experience – 14 years in the district. Don’t we want people on the school board who understand the ins and outs of being a student in the district? I’ve been affected by the policies passed by the current school board.”

Albrecht is running to unseat incumbent Jacqueline McGourty. His challengers are Elizabeth Crowley and Brian Travis.

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20-year-old candidate battling cancer wants to fight for Northshore students