Second Semester: One Step Closer to Their Future


Ashley Hawkins

Seniors look back on their time in high school, while looking forward to the future.

Kathleen Waldron, Staff Reporter

As the La Salle community begins to enter its second semester, four seniors share their hopes and plans for their future beyond high school. 

Nikolas Kempster

For senior Nikolas Kempster, getting ready to depart from high school is a bittersweet experience. Eager and excited to start the next chapter of his life, yet still nervous about the undetermined future, “that part I haven’t come to full terms with yet,” he said.

As the first semester has come to an end, Kempster is satisfied with the way his senior year has been progressing. His classes “haven’t been too difficult,” he said, and his favorite class is Geology with Mr. Roth. Despite not being able to share information about the Journey retreat, Kempster stated it has been the best part of his senior year so far.

As is commonly known, the first semester of senior year can be a long and treacherous period of time. The idea of college looms over people’s heads, potentially making it a stressful few months. However, Kempster didn’t face this challenge. He felt that his college application process seemed rather easy and low-stress.

Unlike many seniors, Kempster’s future plans and hopeful career paths have remained the same since he was four years old when he first showed interest in aeronautics. His decision to become a pilot for Delta Airlines sprouted from when his dad took him to “take your child to work” when he was six years old — his dad was a baggage handler on the ramp for Delta Airlines. “I had kind of dawdled with the idea of being a pilot, but then he took me in there and that just solidified for me,” he said.

He has foreseen the same future since that day.

In October of last year — when Kempster was 17 — he was finally eligible to obtain a pilot’s license, despite the fact he has been flying since he was 14. With this, he can fly alone and even on occasion take his friends up with him. As for the next step in his flying career, he is working on pursuing his commercial pilot’s license.

Coming up next year, Kempster will be attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. His plans have remained the same since eighth grade when he first set on attending this university. He plans on receiving a degree in aeronautics.

However, this will bring a drastic change to his life — living on the other side of the country. The location of his school matters due to the weather conditions for flying. “In Florida, you have mostly sunny days, mostly clear skies, and not cold and rainy [like] here,” he said.                                                                  

As for leaving home, Kempster said, “I see it as I’m getting one step closer to the career goal that I want.” He is still trying to grasp the idea that he will be leaving everything at home behind.

Flying quickly became Kempster’s passion. The first time he flew, he described himself to be extremely nervous, “but something hits you and you’re like, ‘you’re actually doing this’,” he said. 

Sid Lefranc

Senior Sid Lefranc is enrolled in AP Chemistry, AP Government, AP Physics, AP English, and AP Spanish 5, so their schedule is tightly packed, making for a busy senior year.

This year, Lefranc made the decision to double up on sciences and not take a math course. “I just wanted to get a taste of every science before I went to college,” they said. 

Although they have already been accepted into the college of their choosing, Lefranc described the application process as “kind of nerve-racking,” they said. “You’re putting all of your hard work through your four years of high school out and hoping that they think it’s good enough.”

Lefranc gives credit to Chemistry teacher Mr. Owen, Spanish teacher Ms. Moran, and English teacher Mr. Krantz — who wrote their letters of recommendation and provided support with writing their essays — for guiding them through the process of applying to college. 

Looking ahead to college, Lefranc is most nervous to acquire a new routine separate from the one they know so well. “I think I feel so established right now, but I’m much more excited than nervous,” they said.

They plan to attend the University of Oregon in the fall. Lefranc grew up not liking the Ducks because their brother attended Oregon State University, but after consideration, the University of Oregon exceeded all of their expectations for college.

As far as studying goes, Lefranc plans to major in neuroscience — the same profession their father had when he resided in Mexico. “I had always known I wanted to go into a science since I was very young … and neuroscience just had classes from every subject available,” they said. “It seemed really well-rounded.” The major requires you to take physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology.

Despite Lefranc feeling confident in their hopes and plans for the future, they are ultimately waiting to be in college to finalize all plans and majors. 

Lefranc is looking forward to life after graduation when their schedule will finally loosen up. “I think I’ll have a lot more free time and power to choose which courses I’m taking which I’m looking forward to,” they said. 

The rigorous programs that La Salle offers have given Lefranc an education they are grateful for, especially due to the career path they plan to pursue. “I used to wonder if I could handle certain academic rigor, especially with going into a STEM field, but I feel like I’ve done well here at La Salle.”

Lefranc will miss the tight-knit community La Salle has and how many relationships they have formed here but is ready and excited to take the next step toward their future.

“I love La Salle but I have done my time,” they said.

Cassie Ramirez

Senior Cassie Ramirez has had a stressful and chaotic first several months to her last year as a high school student, but she is thankful to experience a year of normalcy — unlike many of her high school years. “Being able to sit with all my friends kind of just reminds me of freshman year,” she said

She is an active member of the La Salle community, being on the executive student counsel, the officer of inclusion, and the president of the Unidos club. Ramirez plans to continue to participate in clubs and build connections with others in her future at college.

Ramirez is still in the process of applying to college, but she plans on attending Portland State University. As far as applications go, “it’s pretty stressful because my counselor left last year … and then being first generation, it’s kind of hard figuring it all out,” she said.

With college in the near future, Ramirez is looking forward to a new change. “It’s like the next level of growing up,” she said. However, she is nervous to make the transition from a small school to a much larger one.

Ramirez plans to major in political science. She hopes that this will lead her into her hopeful career of becoming an immigration lawyer, which she has wanted to study since seventh grade when she discovered her passion for it. She shows her devotion to her future career by posting on social media, and she will also be partaking in La Salle’s border immersion trip to Texas.

Listening to her dad’s story on immigrating to the United States has given her perspective and motivation to continue in her hopeful career as an immigration lawyer. “I feel like that just kind of motivated me that I would like to help give people those chances my dad had,” she said.

In her Lasallian Ministry course at La Salle, Ramirez enjoys how much time is devoted to learning about immigration laws and the important causes that are necessary. This class has made her solidify what she plans to do with her future career.

The excitement for leaving high school is paired with the nerves of the unknown — a new chapter. “I think what worries me the most is probably just seeing all of my friends having a good time because a lot of them are going to university together,” she said.

As for leaving La Salle, Ramirez will mostly miss the small community and the ability to build connections with people from the entire school. 

In five years, Ramirez hopes to see her future play out by staying local in Portland and potentially starting up her own immigration law firm in order to be more helpful and fulfilled.

Kamryn Houghton

Senior Kamryn Houghton has been experiencing similar traits as other seniors from their final year; stress, excitement, and laughter.

So far, Houghton has thoroughly enjoyed the way her last year in high school has been evolving. “I’ve strengthened a lot of my friendships and it’s been really enjoyable coming to school,” she said. Houghton has not only found excitement in her required courses but also within her electives — Leadership, AP Art, and being a TA for AP Chemistry.

As for where she is hoping to attend college, her number one choice is Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Last year, she received an early graduation gift from her grandparents, which entailed a trip to New York last summer. It was this trip that made Pratt Institute her top choice.

She appreciated the help from Art teacher, Ms. Cha Asokan — and the art classes she has taught Houghton for the past four years — to get her college portfolio ready and for being helpful towards her decision to become a fashion designer.

During her sophomore year, art school clicked for Houghton. “Some people just have their things that make sense in their head, and styling has just always been my thing,” she said. Despite knowing her future career plans, they have slightly changed over the past two years. “I am possibly going to minor in entrepreneurship because I want to have a little bit of background if I want to start my own company,” she said.

Her biggest inspiration to become a fashion designer was her middle school art teacher. “She just was always so boldly herself, she didn’t really care to make people comfortable,” Houghton said. “She just was always authentic.” Houghton has embraced her way of teaching and the way she moved about her life. She provided clarity that there is not just one path that everyone must follow. Fashion has given her a way to voice that statement and follow in the footsteps of pushing the boundaries.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Houghton found herself with a lot of time on her hands, leading her to find clothes in her closet that she could use to cut up and alter. This was an essential part of her decision between career paths because it captured what it means to design fashion.

The location of her school is significant because of the work she wants to do. “That’s why New York is my dream, but if I end up somewhere else it’s just whatever is meant to be,” she said.

Houghton gives credit to La Salle for pushing her and making her driven. “I think it’s given me this work ethic that’s really strong and I know I’m capable of getting what I need to get done,” she said. Houghton believes that the skills she has learned at La Salle will help her further in the future.

One thing she is not looking forward to is having to depart from her friends and family. “I’m sad because this is the time I’ve had the best relationships with people, so it’s really heartbreaking to leave,” she said.

Houghton continues to find inspiration for her future and what she hopes to do with it. “I like people who are constantly trying to push the envelope with fashion and have their own interpretation of how it should be,” she said.