Future First Citizens: Sam Nieslanik, Regis, and Abbie Lucas, Stayton

February, 2016 Posted in People

By Mary Owen

Stayton Rotary Club has named Sam Nieslanik, Regis High School, and Abbie Lucas, Stayton High School, as this year’s Future First Citizens.

“Stayton Area Rotary is excited and proud for this opportunity to honor Sam and Abbie as Future First Citizens,” said Karen Andall, Rotary spokesperson. “Rotary values the objectives of service, high ethical standards, personal commitment to serve our community and fellowship. It is clear in knowing the accomplishments and attributes of both Sam and Abbie that they have pursued and demonstrated these values. We congratulate them and wish the best in what are certain for both to be successful and rich futures as they move forward in their lives.”

Sam Nieslanik, Regis High

Sam Nieslanik, Regis High

Sam Nieslanik

“It would be very easy to find another at Regis High School that is just as deserving of this award as myself,” said Nieslanik, who is grateful for the honor.

During his four years at Regis, Nieslanik has worked hard to become a well-rounded student.

“Well-versed in not just one area, but multiple,” said Nieslanik, of Scio. “My favorite subject is anything science related. Science is the perfect balance between math – absolute truth – where there is only one correct answer – and literature where anything can be the right answer.”

As a freshman transfer student from Colorado, Nieslanik immersed himself in academics and extracurricular activities, starting with serving on student council.

“I served as a class representative for my freshman and sophomore years, the activities director my junior year, and topped it all off with a successful run at the presidency this year,” he said. “Another leadership-oriented group I got involved with was National Honor Society. I am currently a second-year member.”

Nieslanik also participated in cross country as a freshman and sophomore, football as a senior, and basketball and track for all four years. Highlights included: a semi-final run in football; third- and fifth-place finishes in basketball at the state tournament; and a state championship as a member of the 4x400m relay team.

“Sam is an extraordinary young man for many reasons,” said Regis Principal Scott Coulter. “Academically, Sam is already studying his second year of calculus, a year ahead of most accelerated high school students. He is a three-sport varsity athlete, but I believe Sam’s most valuable talent is his ability to engage and lead our students, helping them to better themselves by the experience.”

After graduation, Nieslanik plans to attend Gonzaga University to study “something science related.”

“Regis High School has prepared me well for not only this next step, but for the next few steps in my young life,” he said.

Nieslanik said Regis helped him grow as a student, an athlete and a person.

“I was welcomed with open arms, and it has been a marvelous experience,” he said. “The values displayed at RHS are what have encouraged me to continue my education at another Catholic institution, Gonzaga.”

Abbie Lucas, Stayton High

Abbie Lucas, Stayton High

Abbie Lucas
Lucas was “surprised and humbled” when she found out she was chosen to represent SHS as Future First Citizen.

“Stayton High Class of 2016 has many deserving candidates,” said Lucas, of Sublimity. “Part of my success, both in academics and service, is due to the encouragement and support of my fellow classmates.”

Lucas also credits her “many amazing teachers” for teaching and inspiring her to succeed.

“Overall, I really enjoy school, from the classes I take to the laughter shared with friends,” she says.

Her favorite subjects are English and science, and Lucas loves reading and writing, a passion she gleaned from her father, who holds a doctorate in literature, but science, biology specifically, “wooed and won” her as a freshman.

“My room couldn’t provide a more accurate representation of these passions,” she said. “My bookshelf is overflowing with Austen, Dickens, Rowling, Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, and P.D. James. On my nightstand, however, below my periodic table of elements, sits my collection of science and medical texts. Biology, physics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, a professional guide to diseases, an anatomy coloring book, and a book written by Dr. Tweedy regarding race in the medical world.

“After high school, I wish to pursue my passion and become a doctor, if this wasn’t made obvious by my nightstand,” added Lucas, who plans to attend Corban University to pursue a degree in health science on a pre-medical track. “While there, I hope to continue participating in undergraduate medical research and return to the country that caused me to fall in love with medical missions my freshman year – Haiti.”

After graduating from Corban, she wants to take a year off to apply to medical schools. Oregon Health Sciences University is at the top of her list, she said. Lucas plans to put her medical degree to work offering free medical care, serving the underprivileged and marginalized, in both the U.S. and internationally.

“Stayton High has prepared me for the future in many ways,” Lucas said. “It is small enough to allow for personal interactions with staff, whose goal is to help you reach your fullest potential, but it’s also big enough to provide a wide variety of activities and rigorous coursework.”

When not immersed in academics, Lucas is involved in Varsity tennis, Link Crew and the National Honor Society. She is vice-president of Rotary’s Interact Club, and has been involved in the Associated Student Body since her freshman year, planning a variety of events.

“ASB has given me the opportunities to lead and organize events, work with a team, and communicate with faculty and business members of Stayton,” she said. “This year, I am Assemblies Committee director. It is a demanding position as there are often multiple assemblies in a month. This has stretched me and caused me to grow.”

Lucas participated in iServe in Stayton and attends Foothills Church. She has gone on two construction mission trips to Mexico and one medical mission trip to Haiti that included working with physicians, filling prescriptions, performing triage, and helping to diagnose patients. She also studied the correlation between sugar drink consumption and diabetes in mice, a Corban University project that examined how diabetes in the mother affects obesity in the offspring.

“Abbie is one our very top SHS students,” said Alan Kirby, SHS principal. “She is organized and committed, and strives for excellence in all that she does, whether it be academics, leading in the Associated Student Body, or anything else. She cares about others and has spent many, many hours giving service in the school, community, and even in other countries.  I have no doubt her work ethic, drive for excellence, and desire to help others are going to lead to great things for her in the future, as they have here at SHS.”

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