Luisa Nilan was born in Columbia and immigrated with her family to the United States at the age of six. Now on the cusp of graduation from Corinth-Holders High school Nilan is active with her school, church and community.
Q: So Luisa, how is the first semester of your senior year going so far?
Pretty well. I’m anticipating graduating and am working on my college applications. I’m currently ranked number one in my class, but that could still change up until the last quarter of the year. I hope I can graduate in the top three, though.
Q: To which colleges are you applying?
My first hope is to get into the University of Pennsylvania. I have a lot of family in Pennsylvania and New Jersey so I’d like to get closer to them. My father is retired and my mom stays home, so if I go up north they’ll come with me. I’ll live in the dorms, but they’ll be close enough to see regularly. I have a half sister who lives in Pennsylvania and just had a baby; I don’t want to miss out on that time with her.
Q: What are you interested in studying in college?
I want to go into medicine and the University of Pennsylvania has a great medical program. The courses that fascinate me are biology and math. I would like to be a pediatrician. My school concentration is in the health field. I think I have the patience for working with kids.
Q: What are you involved in at school?
I’m in five clubs. Key club - I’ve been involved in that since the ninth grade at Clayton High School. Currently I’m the secretary of Key Club. It’s a service club that is volunteer-oriented. We have fundraisers to benefit different (charitable) organizations. We go out into the community and perform different services.
Since the tenth grade I’ve been involved in HOSA which stands for Heath Occupation Students of America. It’s a club for students interested in the medical field. It is also service oriented, but more toward the medical field.
Interact Club is another service oriented club that works with Rotary International. We just started that here last year and I’m the treasurer for them.
Then, there’s Coach Club. I began it at this school. We have a tutoring session available every Thursday from 2:30 to 3:30 that is open for all the students in the school. I tutor, but I also make sure that other tutors are available for any subject a student might need help in. I got the idea because one of my friends started it (Coach Club) at Clayton High School. I was a tutor there. Since we didn’t have something like that here (at Corinth- Holders) I figured we could use a program like that here. Why not? We get about five kids each session. The only people that come are the people willing to seek help.
Finally, I’m a member of National Honors Society.
Q: I understand that you work with the youth campaign of the organization Stop Hunger Now. What do they do and how did you get involved with them?
Stop Hunger Now sends food to underdeveloped countries. Primarily they send food to the Ryan Epps Orphanage in Haiti. They have had several volunteer opportunities to pack food for shipment and my mom and I have attended and helped pack at several of those. Tom Ricks is one of the main people involved with that group and I got to know him while volunteering.
This summer we had a Stop Hunger Now youth campaign with a goal of raising $2,000. We were successful. We did it by hosting different events in the community. In July we had a children’s field day. Kohl’s stores have a $500 grant they give to groups who do work benefitting children. We got donations of the people to work the field day. We had games and food and were able to receive the money for having the event. We donated that $500 to Stop Hunger Now.
The rest was raised by setting up booths with food that people could buy at different community events like the Zaxby’s movie night and the Thursday night concerts. We also solicited our family and friends for donations. Caitlyn Moscarito (Vice President of the youth council) convinced a company to donate a portion of their proceeds for the summer to Stop Hunger Now and that was a big boost to our campaign. The events didn’t require a lot of time, but the planning of the field day and preparation for the (various) events took a lot of time.
Q: You are also involved with your church, Ministerio Pentecostal Primeros Frutos. What do you do with them?
I help the Sunday school teacher of the small children each week. I’ve also gotten to present short sermons of about 20 to 30 minutes to the congregation of the church about four times. There aren’t a lot of high school students that are willing to do the preparation and to speak in front of everyone, but we have a couple of others, too.
I like to participate in the teen chorus group when I have time.
Q: What do you like to do when you have free time?
I’m a really outdoorsy type person. I like doing athletic things outside like swimming, playing basketball and volleyball for fun. I like hanging out with my friends. I’m not much of a TV or computer person.
Q: What do you think makes you successful in so many areas?
My faith helps me with everything I do. I like to always try my hardest and I’m a very optimistic person.
Correspondent Holly Lock