Sam Schlangen’s duties in student government at Minnetonka High School have ranged from coordinating events to delivering singing telegrams.
“My role as a senior in student government is to be a good example to younger students and to pass the leadership on to them,” Schlangen said. “I like serving others and appreciate the opportunity to lead and coordinate events."
Those events include a haunted house, an open skate for students and Heartweek in February. “Singing telegrams that are a large part of our Heartweek,” said Schlangen, who has been known to belt a few tunes for the event.
Schlangen gets plenty of voice practice—he has participated in school theater for four years and his favorite class is choir.
“The musical moments I share with choir are the single most thrilling experiences a student is supposed to have in school,” he said. “There are different groups, and I get to know more people better than I would otherwise be able to.”
He is looking forward to traveling to Ireland with the choir during spring break.
As much as he enjoys singing, Schlangen doesn’t plan to participate in theater or choir after high school. “I know the numbers, and I’m not what they call a prodigy,” he said with a laugh.
When he’s not studying, Schlangen earns money by refereeing basketball and umpiring baseball games.
He also works part-time as a personal care assistant (PCA) for kids with disabilities. “I have a desire to help those less fortunate than me,” said Schlangen. “My older brother was a PCA, so that’s how I got involved with disabled kids. They bring so much to the community through their personalities.”
Schlangen also volunteers as a tutor at inner-city elementary schools through Backpack Tutoring.
“The kids are really fun to work with, and you can see the progress from the beginning to the end of the school year,” said Schlangen.
Another organization he works with is Feed My Starving Children, which relies on volunteers to hand-pack meals for malnourished children.
Schlangen's volunteer work was honored with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award. “Volunteering is something everybody should do based on their own abilities and opportunities,” said Schlangen.
His advice to freshmen?
“Get involved in a lot of activities,” Schlangen suggested. “There are plenty of groups you can switch to if one doesn't work out. However, don't overwhelm yourself.”
In choosing activities, Schlangen was inspired by his older brother, Luke.
“He is successful for his age and so I have followed after him,” said Schlangen.
In his free time, Schlangen enjoys playing cards, board games and handball with his family at home in Chanhassen.
He also likes to relax with friends. “I am fortunate to have the friends I do,” said Schlangen. His peers think highly of him too, electing him to senior homecoming court last fall.
This fall, Schlangen will head to college. He has narrowed his choices to the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin or Iowa State.
“I want to be an engineer or work with math in some form,” said Schlangen. “I would eventually like to be involved in public service.”
Schlangen also plans to major in Spanish.
Why study a foreign language?
“Language is part of learning the culture of others,” he said.
Schlangen has been able to practice his Spanish on trips to Mexico with his family. “I started to understand bits and pieces of the news on the Spanish radio,” Schlangen said. "I’m not fluent, but hopefully I will be in a few years.”
In the meantime, Schlangen plans to make the most of his senior year. A member of the National Honor Society, Schlangen is in the rigorous international baccalaureate (IB) program and also takes advanced placement (AP) courses.
His New Year’s resolution?
“To not completely give up on the academic aspect of school until after my IB and AP tests."