Nicholas Samuelson is one of Monsignor McCoy High School’s two Valedictorians who tied among the 2020-2021 school year’s graduating class.
With an impressive high school resume, inside and out of the walls of McCoy, it’s no surprise Samuelson is one of the top students. He participated in a number of activities and volunteer opportunities.
“One of the things that I’m involved with is we have a Medicine Hat Youth Advisory Board,” said Samuelson. “It’s a group of appointed youth by city council and we’re able to make recommendations to city council based upon changes we’d like to see in the city or we can initiate research projects, so we did one of those last year on environmental sustainability. I really enjoy my position there, I’m the chairperson.”
Samuelson also did volunteer work in the hospital’s clinical support program and sat on the minister of education’s youth council, trying to bring a youth voice to shaping education in Alberta.
Samuelson expressed his immense gratitude for the support of his teachers at McCoy over the past three years.
“McCoy really does put that particular emphasis on building community and I think you’ll see that reflected in our graduating class and in our relationships with our teachers,” Samuelson said. “We didn’t have it this year, but in previous years we had flex time, and that was an opportunity to go in on essentially your own time, be independent, and work on homework, talk with your teachers and work through anything and I think that was really important, really integral to not only our education, but developing those bonds and relationships with our teachers.”
Thomas Shemko, who taught Samuelson AP math for all three years of high school, expressed having enjoyed the chance to see the young man grow as a person.
“Nick is quite self-motivated, willing to do things himself … there is just no shortage of work ethic,” said Shemko. “He is always willing to put in his time to achieve his goals. He sets goals and then he puts in the work to accomplish them. He is incredibly well rounded, always polite, super driven.”
Samuelson explained how this last year of high school has been unique but has also been a driving force for excellence.
“Learning in the pandemic has obviously been very challenging for everyone across Alberta,” Samuelson said. “Aside from the challenges, something that’s really impressed me is the perseverance that our grad class has shown, so through all these challenges and obstacles, whether it’s the pandemic or our own personal challenges, our grad class has been able to work through those and overcome those obstacles, and I think we’ve learned lots of really valuable life skills from that and I see these life skills helping us and carrying us through our future and I’m really excited to see what our grad class is going to accomplish moving forward.”
Samuelson isn’t the only one looking forward to seeing what the class of 2021 accomplishes after graduation.
“It’s always interesting to think about what they’re going to do in the next five years,” said Shemko. “Because it’s usually something pretty awesome and I know Nick will be there for sure. He’s got all the tools and skills and motivation to go pretty far.”
Samuelson will attend the University of British Columbia at the Vancouver Campus and is in the Science 1 Honour program. His end goal is to complete his undergraduate in bio-physics and then go to medical school.
, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News