You would be hard pressed to find a more confident 17-year-old boy than Hagen Sandoval. Sitting in a counselor’s office at Spanish Springs High School Tuesday, he showed enthusiasm and determination that he would be the second Nevada governor named Sandoval.
Originally he set his sights on becoming president of the United States, but after careful thought he chose to dial down his aspirations and keep them on a more local level. He now works hard to master his appearance in front of the television camera hoping to master an expertise in communication.
“I always joked around with my dad saying that I wanted to be the first Gov. Sandoval and that I wanted to be the first Hispanic governor, and it all got thrown out in one term,” Sandoval said. “I like being able to talk to people and communication is a big thing in politics. If you can communicate well through the television and tell the story, then you can also gain the trust of voters.”
Sandoval spends much of his time at Spanish Springs High working for Cougar Nation News, a news broadcast where students hone their journalism skills, which has landed him interviews with current and former Washoe County School District Superintendents, Gov. Brian Sandoval (to whom he has no relation) and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. Sandoval said “meeting new people every day” brings him the most joy in pursuing broadcast journalism.
“I think that everyone has a story to tell and that is one of the coolest parts about being a broadcast journalist is being able to learn a person’s story,” Sandoval said. “There is always news to tell.”
Sandoval hopes his work in broadcast journalism will one day lead him to the governor’s position, which is one he has dreamt of holding for some time. Being a sixth generation Nevadan, he hopes to restore the ‘glory days’ of the state.
“I love the state of Nevada, it’s a great state. I look at Nevada’s former glory and I miss it being the talk of the town,” he said. “I want to bring it back there. We seem to be at the bottom of all the bad lists and hopefully we can bring it back on the right track.”
When he is not pursuing politics or editing video reels for the Cougar News Network, Sandoval keeps busy with several clubs and organizations in the school. He is the state treasurer of Skills USA Nevada, a career technical education group that focuses on preparing students to enter the workforce. He is also the senior representative for Spanish Springs High on the Student Advisory Board for WCSD, which “allows students to have a voice toward the school board,” according to Sandoval.
“The whole goal is to find issues we see at our schools and bring them to the school board to address them,” he said. “Right now we are working on standard goals the board has, like bullying and those things, and it is really the voice for the students.”
In managing all his commitments and classes, Sandoval said he finds less difficulty with a heavy schedule than without one. He said keeping busy allows him to be efficient in completing assignments, for class or extracurriculars, and allow for higher achievement.
“I found that once my schedule was more packed I succeeded more in school than I did prior,” he said. I kept busy and I never had any time to think about laying around because I always have something to do. I really have enjoyed having a packed schedule.
Sandoval plans to attend journalism school upon entering college and plans to remain on the West Coast if he ventures outside Nevada. No matter where he departs to, he plans to return to fulfill his lifelong goals.
“I definitely see myself coming back to Nevada because I have always loved it here,” he said. “It is kind of hard to be governor of Nevada while living in California, too.”