Regardless of the miles that might separate them from home, city pride is a particular emotion among most individuals who leave their hometown.
Daniel Kim is a Federal Way resident who graduated from Decatur High School in 2006, and is now studying aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan.
Not only does his profile in the social networking Web site Facebook.com proudly show his hometown, but he also created an online group within the same site called “Ah! The Proud Federal Wayans!”
This group has 93 members to date. Many of the members are either studying or working outside of Federal Way, while others are current high school students.
The group’s profile features a topic under the name “You know you’re from Federal Way when…” that has a list of 32 different descriptions of Federal Way’s traits with a local twist.
Among the answers given by group members regarding “You know you’re from Federal Way when…” include:
• “You know where ‘downtown’ is.”
• “You were excited when the H-Mart opened even though your aren’t Asian.”
• “You have any idea who Todd Beamer is.”
• “You look fondly on the days of carpeted malls.”
• “You go to Dash Point all the time, but never have camped there.”
• “Even though it’s called The Commons at Federal Way, you still call it Seatac Mall.”
Trish McMahon left Federal Way to attend college five years ago. She now lives and works in Port Angeles.
“I forget how large Federal Way has become, and that it is now a city, but I still get excited whenever I hear ‘Federal Way,’” McMahon said.
“If it’s on the TV news, or makes an area in the daily paper, it’s like ‘Oh, Federal Way.’ Since it’s one of the relatively larger cities in the state, it’s not unusual for stories to make the news, and yet seeing or hearing ‘Federal Way’ still catches my attention,” she said.
McMahon said that even though she doesn’t live here, she still tries to keep up with what is happening in the area.
Due to the city’s young beginnings, many of those who leave Federal Way often find it easier to say that they are from the Seattle area.
“When talking to out-of-state people, I tell them I’m from the Seattle area. With fellow Washingtonians, I just tell them Federal Way,” said Ben Bonnema, who is a student at Whitworth University in Spokane.
“All in all, Federal Way was a pretty cool place to grow up. It certainly wasn’t as cool as Seattle, and still isn’t. But it has its perks, like the $2 theater, a pretty decent mall — though I refuse to call it The Commons — and a variety of stores and restaurants,” Bonnema said.
While some students mentioned their love for the city’s diversity and convenient location, others said the area’s traffic was one of the things they missed the least.
“I love Federal Way and will always consider it home. One of my favorite things is the diversity of the people and the fact that we are close to both the city and nature,” said Laura Aguirre, who now lives in Southern Oregon. “Federal Way is a great place. I would move back in an instant if I could.”
As more students will be moving to a new life outside the city’s borders this summer, only time will tell whether their presence in the community will continue to be physical, or whether it will remain merely sentimental as they continue to move forward with their lives.
Nevertheless, more than likely and despite of what the future holds, their heads will continue to turn every time they hear or see the two words that hold some of the vital roots to their identity: Federal Way.
“I find that those who are from Federal Way have crazy ‘Federal Way pride,’” Trish McMahon said. “Whether you love it or you have it, you are proud of that common bond you share with one another.”
Contact Aileen Charleston: firstname.lastname@example.org