2017 Željko Stipetić
Željko Stipetić is a 24 year old graduate from Western Washington University. He earned a double major in Business Finance and International Business. Recently he started working for Wyndham, a hotel and travel company. He’s had big ambitions to become a professional boxer one day, although he hasn’t fought in a couple of years. Right now he is getting his priorities together and focusing on work and his career, however he hopes to fight again one day.
Željko has lived in the Seattle area his entire life. Both of his parents Milan and Antonija Stipetić, are immigrants from Croatia, Ogulin and Mrkopalj. He learned to speak Croatian with them, his Stara Mama, Teta Maca and other relatives and friends. Although he was born in the USA he has always considered himself Croatian. It was his identity and with a name like “Željko” he was always known as the “Croatian” guy. Željko joined the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans at the age of 5 and was a member until he moved out of town to attend college. He sang, danced, and played the prim. While he is no longer part of the group, he still plays with Sinovi whenever he can. He takes his Tambura to Vancouver and plays with family and friends there. The music is something that he will always enjoy.
Željko takes great pride in his roots. He is grateful for everything his parents have taught him. That culture has shaped the man he has become. His language skills have been very useful on his many summers spent in Croatia with his family and the two trips with the SJT’s. He is also very thankful for the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans and everything they have taught him about his culture. Being a part of that music and dance group has allowed him to explore his heritage in a very unique way. It has fostered a love of all things “Hrvatski”. The Croatian community in the Seattle area has also been a big part of his life – picnics, parties, weddings. He wishes to thank everyone for their help, encouragement, and applause along the way.