Lauren Engel is about as well-rounded a high school student can be.
During her four years at Whitnall High School she accumulated a 4.46 GPA (through seven semesters), was a successful athlete in both swimming, skiing and snowboarding, ran the student newspaper and still found time to volunteer at the Hales Corners Library and her church, Mary Queen of Heaven.
But most notable about Engel, according to WHS principal Anthony Brazouski is Engel's character and leadership ability.
"I can state with all honesty that Lauren is one of the most mature, genuine, and caring high school students with whom I have had the pleasure of working," Brazouski said.
For this week's Name in the News, I caught up with the senior, the third-ranked student in a class of more than , June 3.
Patch: You seem to be involved in just about everything at WHS. How in the world do you not only do it all, but be successful as well?
LE: I attribute my success to time management. Growing up with a split household taught me to be extremely well-organized because two times a week I change locations and I need to bring every item that I will possibly need until I switch houses again. I learned early in high school that if I had extra time one night, use it, because that time won't be there when you really need it. I also am able to focus completely on my work for extended periods of time without allowing myself to be distracted. 'Laziness' is not in my vocabulary. Even now, the minute I get home I start my homework and keep going until it's finished. This allows me enough time even work ahead and still go to bed at 9 p.m. every night.
Patch: Of all the things on your plate, has any one been more rewarding than the others? And why?
LE: The first would have to be my job as a ski instructor. I grew up skiing and snowboarding, and now I'm able to teach what I love. I usually teach children ages 4-7. Being able to turn their fear into smiles and laughter as they become capable skiiers is extremely rewarding. To me, it's not a job. I teach because I love helping people.
Patch: I, of course, have to ask: what have you learned from your time with the school newspaper?
LE: Newspaper definitely taught me about leadership. I've always been a leader, but managing a staff, running meetings, tracking deadlines, and planning for coming years was definitely a challenge. This year we wrote bylaws and have constantly tried to improve communication within the staff for increased efficiency. Mr. Brazouski likes to boast that I've drastically increased readership and quality of the paper during my year as Chief Editor. While that is true, I just say I was doing my job. I feel more comfortable in a leadership position now and my problem solving skills are much quicker. I pushed my staff to be the best that they could be. Even though I was head of the paper, it is really the staff that shines through in each edition. I owe my success to them.
Patch: If you could give advice to incoming WHS freshmen, what would it be based on your experiences?
LE: The best thing for freshmen to do is care about school. Pushing yourself every day to be better will help you achieve your dreams. High school isn't an end; it's the beginning of your life where you choose what you want to be. Be involved in school; don't overload yourself, but meeting new people will make your high school experience so much better. Also, don't be afraid of seniors, but don't expect them to not run you over in the hallways if you're in the way. Like it or not, you may want to listen to them. They've been where you are. Overall, if you try in school, you will get the most high school has to offer. Every ounce of effort you put in now will only put you that much farther ahead in the future.
Patch: What was your reaction to the $20,000 Marquette University scholarship and how excited are you to take the next step toward medical school?
LE: My response to the Marquette scholarship was complete shock. I can't complain of an uncomfortable lifestyle, but there is no way my family can afford Marquette. Since I am paying for college completely on my own, without scholarship I would not have been able to attend Marquette at all. In addition to the Ignatius Scholarship, I also earned another Clinical Laboratory Science specific scholarship from Marquette in a competition. That brought me one step closer to my dreams. I have been fortunate enough to earn a total of $97,000 in scholarship from Marquette and outside sources. A year ago, I would have never thought that to be even possible.
I am ecstatic to be one step closer to attending medical school. While it's a little unnerving that my life is changing so rapidly, I couldn't be happier. I plan to spend every day helping people, and that's what I've always wanted. I know the path ahead of me is long, but there is no doubt in my mind that it's worth it. Making a difference in the life another will make mine complete. To me, it feels like my life is really beginning. I've worked so hard to get to this point and now I can fully enjoy what I've achieved. It feels amazing.