Catching Up With Eight La Salle Alumni

Alex Vogt, Staff Reporter

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Each year the graduating class of La Salle moves on to the next stage in their life. Some move across the country, and some stay in Oregon. With many people scattered everywhere, you may wonder where they are and what they are up to. The Falconer recently caught up with eight La Salle alumni, and asked them about their experience transitioning from high school to college and their current situations.

Nick McCoy ’17:

Photo courtesy of Nick McCoy.

McCoy is a sophomore at Oregon State University in Corvallis, and he is studying Construction Engineering Management. “La Salle prepared me by guiding my study habits in a direction that would be successful in a college atmosphere,” he said. “The freedom mixed with the culture of getting your work done in a timely manner was a huge change.”

According to McCoy, college is easier in some aspects, but much harder in other aspects. “Some of my college electives courses are easier than most classes I took in high school, but my major specific engineering courses take everything I have,” he said.

“I am not focusing on partying too much with [my friends],” McCoy said. “I know if I buckle down now that it’ll help me in the long run once all of us get going in our respective careers.”

Over the summer of 2018 he interned at Perlo Construction. In the future, McCoy hopes to become a project manager for a construction firm in Portland.

Along with many other college students, McCoy misses walking short distances from class to class. McCoy’s philosophy for the future is to “get rich or die trying.”

Luke Guasco ’17

Photo courtesy of Luke Guasco.

Guasco attends Boise State University in Idaho. He is in his second year of college, majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Environmental Studies and Hydrology.

“In all honesty, I cannot thank La Salle enough for the prep it gave me,” Guasco said. “I’m not trying to kiss up to the school or anything, but it truly has helped me way more than I ever expected.”

Guasco believes that college is easier than high school. “You don’t have class eight hours [a day] Monday-Friday, and you get to study what you’re passionate about, which surprisingly makes learning less miserable,” he said.

After college, Guasco wants to join the Department of Fish and Wildlife and become a federal wildlife agent. He wants to incorporate his love for the outdoors with his study of criminal justice. Guasco said, “I also want to know I’m making a difference in the environment.”

Right now, he is focused on keeping his grades up during the week, so he can travel and backpack over the weekends. Guasco is also working on a research paper on wolf conservation.

“Honestly the most important thing I left La Salle with was my determination to change the world in my own way, and my friends,” he said. There’s not a day where Guasco doesn’t talk to any of his friends from La Salle.

“I believe that the ideas I have for our environment and ecosystem will one day shape the entire division of Fish and Wildlife,” Guasco said. “After that I’ll retire rich, and open up a wolf conservation and rescue on Mount Hood.”

Allen Casper ’18:

Photo courtesy of Allen Casper.

Casper is a freshman studying BioHealth Sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Casper enjoys the freedom he has and enjoys meeting a ton of new people. There have been many opportunities in college, including doing intramural sports, and in his free time Casper plays a lot of basketball.

One challenge is that he has had to teach himself a lot more than being taught by teachers. “It is a lot more difficult without instruction and the guidance, but the freedom is nice,” Casper said.

For Casper, college is harder than high school, but “La Salle has prepared me for college a lot better than I thought,” he said. “Homework assignments and essays are a lot easier to finish.”

Casper misses his friends from back home, and said, “It has been hard to move away from home, pick the right major, and make these huge decisions.”

Casper has been focusing a lot on getting used to college life and keeping up his grades in all of his classes.

After college, Casper hopes to become a physical therapist. “Right now, I am focusing very hard on grades and schoolwork,” he said.

Quentin Pearson ’17:

Photo courtesy of Quentin Pearson.

Pearson is a sophomore at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, where he is studying Motorsports Management. During his senior year at La Salle he committed to play lacrosse at Belmont Abbey.

Since graduating from La Salle, Pearson has been traveling and meeting new friends from all over the country.

“I feel like La Salle prepared me by helping me make good study habits as well as good writing skills,” Pearson said. “[I also understand] different points of views and people’s reasoning.”

Pearson says college is easier than high school. He is mainly focusing on lacrosse and schoolwork right now. “Playing lacrosse at a college level is a huge leap from playing in high school,” Pearson said.

The thing Pearson misses most from high school would be being on the snowboard team.

An obstacle that he has had to tackle is trying to decide what he wants to do with his life, especially considering all the different directions that he can take.

“My plans for the future as of right now [are] traveling, enjoying life, and making great friends,” Pearson said.

After college, Pearson hopes to move back to Bend, and start managing a rallycross team and possibly become a Formula One driver.

Steven Bulbes ’17:

Photo courtesy of Steven Bulbes.

Bulbes is in his first year as a European Studies student at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

“I feel that La Salle had prepared me for the work and schedule of college life quite well, and taught me what it means to have an effective daily schedule,” he said. “I think college is not easier than high school, but it can be less work at times.”

Most of his time now is spent studying or finding a better way to organize his time. A lot of his education is based around working with other people in groups, as well as working with real companies.

The Applied Science school is largely focused on practical skills, such as group work and presentation skills. “Studying in the Netherlands is about how much you put into it,” he said. “None of the classes ask you for an insane amount of work, [but] you have to put that in to do well.”  Bulbes’ plans for the future include finishing school and possibly continuing to work in the Netherlands.

Matty Karcsay ’18:

Photo courtesy of Matty Karcsay.

Karcsay is a freshman at Clackamas Community College.

“Right now I am just taking my prerequisites because I am not sure what I want to major in yet,” she said. “But I am hoping to find a job I really enjoy and get to travel.”

One of the things Karcsay has noticed so far is that La Salle has prepared her for the workload and time management skills needed. “So far, I think college is harder than high school because in college there is more freedom, which can get the best of you,” she said. “And it’s harder to stay organized that way.”

Since graduating from high school, Karcsay landed a new job at Dutch Bros, which she really enjoys. Karcsay explained, “It is like no other job out there. You aren’t one of many, instead you are a big family and being in this company you are accepted anywhere.”

What she misses most about La Salle is the relationships and her friends. “I was able to see my closest friends everyday and now everyone is scattered, so it’s just not the same,” she said.

An obstacle Karcsay had to overcome since high school was getting used to community college and not living on a college campus.

Next year for her sophomore year, Karcsay is planning on transferring to Central Oregon Community College. She will finish her prerequisites there and then transfer to OSU to study business and marketing.

Stephany Alvarado ’17:

Photo courtesy of Stephany Alvarado.

Alvarado is in her second year of studying Family and Human Services at University of Oregon in Eugene.

“La Salle had pretty rigorous courses, which definitely have helped me in college,” Alvarado said. “While my classmates aren’t used to the workload in core classes like math and writing, it is not a huge change for me because it is like what was expected from me at La Salle.”

Despite being prepared for college, she still finds it a little harder than high school.

“All I know is that I’m majoring in Family and Human Services (FHS) because I want a career that helps people in need,” Alvarado said. “I’m not sure what age group I want to work with. I could be a social worker or a lawyer for human rights.”

Outside of school she is focusing on using creative outlets, such as writing, art, and fashion, to express herself. She said that these help with relieving stress as well as having something to do in her free time.

Alvarado has also been “supporting [her] friends at house/art shows and seeing [her] family every now and then.”

Throughout her freshman year at U of O, she volunteered at an assault-prevention campus shuttle and joined clubs for Latinxs. She is hoping to pick up a job this year.

Going from La Salle to U of O was initially a huge culture shock for Alvarado, and she is still slightly reminded of that from day-to-day. “The thing is, there are more people attending this school, and you have more ideas and opinions coming your way,” she said. “I am still intrigued by the amount of people I see every day and how vocal everyone is about their controversial beliefs.”

Alvarado says she misses her extremely supportive teachers and the friends she made at La Salle. She also misses planning retreats as a senior and having a buddy in Lasallian Ministry.

An obstacle Alvarado has had is mental health. “I have had so much help and support, because I have a really strong support system in Eugene now,” she said. “I have programs that help me be successful in college and people that help me in my success outside of school.”

In the future, she wants to move to an area with less rain and have a career that helps people live better lives. “My plans for the future are still a bit blurry, but I have time to figure that out,” Alvarado said.

Kiana Christensen ’17:

Photo courtesy of Kiana Christensen.

Christensen attends the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She is currently a sophomore studying Biology with an emphasis on Anatomy and Physiology.

“La Salle prepared me very well, especially with taking AP classes so that I could enter college as a sophomore,” Christensen said. Because of this, she will probably be able to graduate a year early.

Through taking challenging classes at La Salle, Christensen learned how to study and manage her time better. “In college, some classes are easier and some are harder, it all depends what you take,” Christensen said. “It is much harder to learn in lectures because you have to do a lot more work on your own, pre-reading for class, and cramming for finals.”

After she finishes her undergraduate studies, she plans on going to dental school, with hopes of becoming an orthodontist or oral surgeon. Christensen is currently focusing on “being an Anatomy TA, which may be the most stressful thing with having to lead labs.” She also plans to take the Dental Admission Test for dental school this March.

Other than studying, Christensen has been going on road trips, rock climbing, and snowboarding in the winter, as well as researching lizard teeth at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

What Christensen misses most about La Salle is all of her friends and being on the snowboard team.

Christensen said, “One of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to overcome since graduation was being homesick at first, but now I really like it here.”