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Ashley Hawkins

Valedictorian Nate Dominitz aims to pursue a career in the social sciences someday as, “I’ve loved history classes, so being able to connect that and sort of use that to understand how our world is today and how we can improve it,” is a goal of his, he said.

Valedictorian Nate Dominitz

May 31, 2023

Having lived in five different cities across the country, valedictorian Nate Dominitz is no stranger to moving around, but he is glad to have landed at La Salle — a place he’s flourished in both academics and athletics. 

Dominitz was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but moved to Maryland, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and eventually settled in Portland at the age of eight. 

“It’s probably easier to move around when I was younger than if I had moved in seventh grade,” he said. “I feel like that would have been a lot harder than having moved when I was like five or six.”

Despite being very young, some of Dominitz’s core childhood memories trace back to his time in Maryland and New Jersey, where he lived near Philadelphia for two years. 

“One thing that I really look back on fondly was, when we lived outside of Philadelphia, going to all the Eagles games,” he said. “I’m a big Philadelphia Eagles fan because of that, but it has also inspired having football [be] such a big part of my life, I guess, through high school.”

As a result of being inspired by professional athletes from a young age, Dominitz has played a variety of sports growing up, though the one he has taken most seriously is football. During his first years of high school, he played football for the freshman and JV teams at Jesuit High School. 

While he enjoyed his football experience at Jesuit, he wanted a change after the COVID-19 pandemic. “I never really felt like I had fully gotten into the Jesuit community,” he said. “It was just weird having not even been there for a full school year in person, and I felt like I sort of wanted a fresh start.”

From then on, Dominitz has been happy with his decision to transfer, as he appreciates the academic and extracurricular opportunities La Salle has offered him. In addition to playing on the varsity football team as a quarterback, Dominitz has also dedicated time to service outside of school. 

Since his sophomore year, he has volunteered at Blanchet House in downtown Portland, an organization that serves meals to those in the community experiencing houselessness and food insecurity. 

“When I first started, we would only plate and put together to-go orders,” Dominitz said. “But now this past summer, now that they’re back to actually serve meals in person, they have different roles, possibly like preparing food or plating food, but also serving guests, or cleaning tables, or [waiting] tables, or serving water.”

Along with extracurriculars and various honors courses, Dominitz has taken eight AP classes in total: one sophomore year, three junior year, and four senior year. Despite having a heavy course load, he feels it’s easier to stay motivated when he has a lot on his plate, and believes extracurricular commitments help him stay on top of schoolwork. 

“Generally, I feel like it’s been pretty manageable,” Dominitz said. “I think personally, I am better about managing my time and trying to not procrastinate and get things done when I have other obligations that I use to work around.”

With a large amount of work stemming from rigorous classes, Dominitz has occasionally struggled with procrastination. However, to combat that tendency, “I always try to set goals for myself,” he said, “Because, you know, it does feel good when you make progress and get something done.”

For Dominitz, freshman year before COVID-19 feels like a long time ago, and he feels that he’s changed a lot since then. “Going in as a freshman, especially at Jesuit where I knew very few people, at the very beginning I was a little intimidated,” he said. “I didn’t participate as much.”

Now, one way that Dominitz views his growth over the years is that he’s opened up more at La Salle, engaging and speaking more in class throughout his time at the school. “At La Salle, I feel like I’ve gotten to know the teachers better,” he said. “So I feel like there’s more comfort there in the classroom.”

Some of his favorite high school classes have been AP English III, AP Spanish V, and AP U.S. Government for reasons such as the content learned and each of the classes’ environments. 

English has particularly stood out for Dominitz because of the discussions that took place during class, as well as the junior research project because he enjoyed “being able to look at current events topics and really dive into them,” he said. 

On a similar note, AP U.S. Government has been Dominitz’s favorite subject due to his interest in politics and current events — something that originated back in middle school.

“Probably where it really started was the primary caucuses and the 2016 election,” he said. “So that would be the spring of fifth grade where I really started to follow, first American politics and the news, and then personally I’ve been very interested in more global current events and international affairs.”

Dominitz aims to incorporate this interest into his future plans by majoring in the social sciences at Rice University in Houston, Texas, which he will be attending in the fall. He also is considering double majoring in Social Policy Analysis, “which examines the policy decisions that better our society,” he said.

A few reasons he was drawn to this college was because of their strong academic reputation, variety of social science majors, size, and location. 

Dominitz has always wanted to attend a college located in a bigger city as opposed to a more rural area or small college town due to the wide range of opportunities found in cities such as Houston. “I think being in a city is really appealing just because of everything that you have access to.”

In order to get the most out of his college experience, Dominitz’s plan is to “take classes that are subjects that I’m very interested in, and then apply what I learned seriously out of the classroom,” he said. “Whether it be working on research projects, working with faculty to conduct research, or I think studying abroad would be really cool.”

Ideally, Dominitz would like to study abroad someday in a Latin American country so he can use the Spanish he’s learned so far. 

Despite wanting to attend college out of state, Dominitz knows that being far away from home will take a significant adjustment. “It’s partially exciting, but also I’m pretty much just starting all over on my own in a completely new area,” he said. 

Looking back on his time in high school, the achievements Dominitz is most proud of are being a National Merit Scholar finalist, being selected as valedictorian, and making an All-League Team for football this past season. “It was a nice way to close out my high school career,” he said.

However, one of the highlights of his entire experience has been “having groups of friends that I can talk to,” he said. “I can work together with them, and I feel like I’m not going through classes or anything alone.”

In fact, one of the most exciting parts of being a valedictorian for Dominitz was that he was selected alongside his friends. “[The valedictorians have] had a lot of classes together,” he said. “We hang out outside of school; for friends, it was pretty cool.”

Viewing his decision to transfer midway through high school as something he is incredibly grateful for, Dominitz’s biggest lesson learned through high school is that “I shouldn’t be afraid to take risks,” he said. 

Additionally, with experience in being involved in a lot through school, a piece of advice that Dominitz would give to underclassmen is to “manage your time well,” he said. “Take school seriously, but not too seriously, and just try to find balance.”

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Megan Snyder, Editor in Chief

Megan is a senior who is a student ambassador, President of Earth Club, and a member of the varsity tennis team. 

She is in her third semester of journalism...

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