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The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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Student of the Week: Isaiah Engelen

Freshman Isaiah Engelen’s favorite thing about Oregon is the sunsets, beaches, and community that it has to offer.
Jasmine McIntosh
Freshman Isaiah Engelen’s favorite thing about Oregon is the sunsets, beaches, and community that it has to offer.

Born and raised in Oregon, freshman Isaiah Engelen attended St. Ignatius School for elementary and middle school, where he then came to La Salle because of the large number of his classmates that decided to attend as well. 

The transition from middle school to high school has been fairly easy for Engelen, as the workload is the same in both schools. “It is not that bad,” he said. The hardest thing he has had to adapt to is the hard deadlines that were not as strict before.

He has enjoyed his Health I class the most, where he learned about things such as “healthy meal planning and why you should not skip meals,” he said.

He also enjoys his Physics M class, and science classes in general, because “I like how everything starts to make sense with science,” he said. “For example, in physics, solving equations, everything just happens to fall into place.”

Engelen’s favorite teacher at La Salle is choir and guitar teacher Mr. Otto Wild. “Whenever I see him he greets me by name,” he said. “He encourages me to push past my limits.” Engelen is currently taking Advanced Guitar taught by Mr. Wild, which is one of his favorite things that La Salle has to offer. 

He first started playing when he was in third grade after he “begged [his] mom to let [him] start playing the guitar,” he said. He wanted to own and play one because he liked to listen to a lot of music when he was younger. 

Though Engelen loves playing the guitar, there have been many times when he contemplated quitting. “I did not want to play guitar because there was nothing new to play,” he said. “I kind of hit a roadblock.” Each time he felt discouraged, his mom reminded him how much he wanted to play originally which has helped him stick with it, now making it one of his favorite hobbies that he does both at home and at school.

At La Salle, Engelen is also a part of the Asian American Pacific Islander club, which he joined because he wanted to form a stronger connection to his Filipino heritage by talking to and meeting more people with the same background. So far, he has enjoyed all of the meetings and being able to associate with other Asian Americans. 

As for sports, Engelen is a member of the swim team. He first learned how to swim last year when preparing to go on a rafting trip with his Eagle Scout group. After practicing and preparing for many hours, he realized that he enjoyed swimming and joined the St. Ignatius swim team and was also able to earn a swimming merit badge with his Scout group. 

Engelen first joined the Scouts BSA Troop 351 through St. Ignatius Catholic Church when he was in third grade. He became a member since his father and grandfather were both a part of it and enjoyed it. Engelen also started to enjoy it and formed many friendships while working to advance his ranking. 

He is currently a second-class Scout, aiming to be an Eagle Scout and earn merit badges. One of his favorite things to do as a Scout is going on campouts because of the time he gets to spend with his friends. He hopes to be able to come back as a leader one day and help other people obtain their Eagle Scout badges. 

Outside of school when he is not playing the guitar or working to advance his Scout ranking, Engelen often plays video games such as Minecraft with his friends or reads short stories and poetry. He enjoys playing with his dog, Mickey, who he got when he was three years old. 

He also often listens to progressive rock music, including artists such as Tim Henson and bands like Polyphia. 

One of Engele’s life mottos that allows him to try new things and push himself is “this probably won’t work, but I am going to do it anyways because if it does work, then it’s going to be good, and if it doesn’t work then oh well,” he said. 

One thing that Engelen has always wanted to start doing is learning different languages, specifically Tagalog and Mandarin. Since his grandparents immigrated from the Philippines and spoke Tagalog, he wanted to learn how to communicate with them better.

So far, he has started learning how to speak Japanese, because during the hunt for some online resources to learn Tagalog, he found Japanese was more accessible, so he chose to start learning Japanese first.

Engelen also hopes to be able to travel to the Philippines one day with his grandparents and see all of the nature and scenery that they have shown him. 

In the future, he plans on attending college, though he is not sure which one he wants to go to yet. Engelen is considering majoring in either music theory or biochemistry, both of which he finds interesting. “I like science and I feel like biochem is interesting from what I’ve seen about it online,” he said. “And then music theory because I listen to a lot of music, analyze it, and play a lot of music.”

But for now, going into his second semester of high school, Engelen’s goal is to improve his grades from last semester by trying to form better study habits. His friends inspire him to continue to work hard and keep him motivated. “They keep pushing me to do my schoolwork when I am not motivated or they help me with it when I am stuck,” he said. 

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