Sibley Senior Spotlight: Angelina Contreras
Sibley Senior Spotlight: Angelina Contreras
Posted on 05/16/2016

The Senior Spotlight series features interviews with Sibley seniors who have shown commitment to academic excellence and personal achievement. The series will highlight two seniors each week until graduation.

Angelina Contreras
Senior Angelina Contreras

Daughter of Nicole Sellin and Adrian Contreras, from West St. Paul

Each individual finds his or her calling at a different time. Some have their career path plotted out from childhood, while others reach a conclusion later in life. For Angelina Contreras it was last summer, while participating at the Imaging Careers and Networking (ICAN) Scholarship Program at the Mayo Clinic, that she decided her future had to involve medicine.

“My ‘ah ha’ moment during the ICAN experience was being able to witness, firsthand, the impact the doctors and technicians have on their patients’ lives,” said Contreras. “I was so impressed by the commitment and passion they had for their jobs and how important what they do is every single day. I walked away knowing that I wanted to commit my career to making a meaningful difference in people’s lives, especially when they may need it the most.”

Contreras was encouraged to apply to the ICAN program by Henry Sibley science teacher John Kelly and, ultimately, was one of 10 high school students from the Twin Cities chosen to attend the week-long mentorship program. While at the Mayo Clinic, Angelina was able to shadow radiology technicians, observing them in surgery, the emergency room, performing ultrasounds, MRIs, and more.

As a result of her experience at the ICAN program, Angelina plans to pursue a degree in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. In addition to acceptance into the university’s College of Biological Sciences, Angelina has also received the Dave Larson Scholarship to help cover the costs of college.

To prepare herself for college, Angelina has taken advanced courses  such as Advanced Placement (AP) United States History, AP Language and Composition, and AP Physics 1. She is a four-year member of the ‘A’ honor roll, a recipient of three academic letters, and a four-year recipient of the Spotlight on Scholarship for Athletes Award at Henry Sibley.

Outside of the classroom, Angelina has been a member of the girls’ swimming and diving team for four years, earning a letter each year. Her experience as a swimmer has allowed Angelina to work as a water safety instructor and lifeguard for TriDistrict Community Education and the West St. Paul YMCA. During her junior year, Angelina volunteered with the Building Blocks Tutorial Program on St. Paul’s west side.

For the past 10 years Angelina has also participated in an afterschool arts program, honing her technique in both drawing and painting. She has even lent her skills as an artist to the Sibley drama club, helping with makeup design during her junior and senior years.

Previously, Angelina attended Somerset Elementary School and Heritage Middle School.

District 197: How has Sibley prepared you to succeed after graduation?
Angelina: I believe that by taking a variety of rigorous courses, Sibley has prepared me to become a serious, hard working student and a critical thinker. I think I have grown a lot as a student since being here and I feel Sibley has really prepared me for the challenge of college coursework.

Who is your favorite teacher or what is your favorite subject?
My favorite teacher at Sibley is Mr. (John) Kelly. He taught chemistry in a way that made it easy to understand and I realized I had an interest in this subject. He also informed me about the ICAN program, which allowed me to go to Mayo Clinic during the summer and shadow different medical staff. It was truly an experience that I will never forget and made me realize I want to pursue a career in medicine. He has also been really helpful throughout my college application process.

What’s a memory from your time at Sibley that will always stay with you?
I think I will always remember GOFA week. It was a fun event that brought the school together to help others. This year was especially memorable when Sibley students presented Mr. Lufkin with a large check. It was touching to see how the whole school came together to honor a teacher that has made a really big impact on our school community.

What advice do you have for younger students about high school?
I would advise younger students to try new things, challenge yourself, and really get to know your teachers. Also, remember that your teachers are there to help you.

Anything else you’d like to share about your time at Sibley?
Sibley is a school full of teachers that are always there to encourage you, challenge you, and push you to do your best. I feel fortunate to have grown up in this community where I have been able to attend such a great school. 

Read about other achievements by students in the class of 2016:

-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Andy Nguyen
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Emma Verby
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Jose Figueroa Castro
-Hannah Delmont named Henry Sibley's 2016 Athena Award winner
-Cailin McMahon recognized by National Merit Scholarship Program
-Eighty-six Henry Sibley students earn AP Scholars honors
-Moog, Fischer named National Merit Semifinalists
-Meet the School Board's new Student Representative, Drew Conway