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Leader in the making
by Garrett Valenzuela
Apr 24, 2013 | 4916 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Spanish Springs High School freshman Annie Wagner is quickly emerging as a leader inside the school and is active in community service outside of school.
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Spanish Springs High School freshman Annie Wagner is quickly emerging as a leader inside the school and is active in community service outside of school.
Counselors and teachers can spot a motivated student when they see one. Whether they catch a student going to meetings they don’t need to attend or hear that a student uses spare time for community service, those students have a certain aura around them, indicating their potential school involvement.

Annie Wagner is one of those students. Though she is only a freshman at Spanish Springs High School, Wagner has shown a willingness to participate in school activities and be a part of the culture of the school. For instance, Wagner secured a place on the school’s Prom Committee this spring. Though the membership is a rarity by tradition, and she said if it weren’t for her need for a ride from her neighbor, she may not have gotten the opportunity.

“Typically freshmen aren’t allowed on Prom Committee, but since I went to all the meetings and get togethers, the advisor said since I was there for all the meetings she would allow me to be in it,” Wagner said. “I didn’t really have an interest in it, but I did want to be in a club so it just worked out. I have learned a lot about planning things and making deals with catering, decorations and a lot about money, business and communicating as well. It has been pretty helpful.”

Wagner said she was very interested in joining the Leadership class when applying for next year’s classes, but due to extra classes, she will be unable to join the class. She hopes to be a part of the team planning many school events by her junior year, but she still plans to stay involved in as many school events as possible.

Wagner was also a member of the Cougars freshman volleyball team in the fall and keeps herself plenty busy outside of school with club volleyball, traveling teams and clinics to help improve her game. She is in her first year of playing club volleyball, but said coach Frank Sandomenico has been teaching her the game from a young age.

“He has taught me a lot about volleyball and being on the team with him is a lot different,” Wagner said of Sandomenico. “He expects more from you and trusts you more. It is cool having him as a coach. He pretty much taught me volleyball.”

Another of Wagner’s out-of-school endeavors is volunteering at the Northern Nevada Food Bank with her family. She said her family put in a solid year of work at the Food Bank and she admits the rewarding feeling is worth putting in the work.

“Well doing the work isn’t that fun, but the feeling you get afterward and the feeling that you helped someone out, is worth it,” she said.

Looking toward the future, Wagner said she would like to study radiology in college and plans to target the remainder of her high school curriculum around science classes. Wagner’s plan is to work as a pharmacy technician while attending college at the University of Nevada, Reno to help give her experience in the medical field before heading out of state for medical school.

“My mom works at Saint Mary’s and my dad is an engineer. They have good careers so it is inspirational to make them proud,” Wagner said. “On the other side, I find science really interesting. So it is win-win.”

Wagner said her life outside of school combines with her academic schedule and school activities, creating a decent amount of stress for the 15-year-old. Because her mother is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, Wagner said she tries to pick up the slack and keep the house clean and orderly for her mother. She said volleyball has largely become an escape for her.

“Usually when I have stress, I am so busy that it usually doesn’t affect me. But when I go to a volleyball tournament, all I do is think about it,” Wagner said. “My coach will come and talk to me about it and helps me get over it. The coach helps me leave the drama at the door and go play volleyball. Volleyball helps me get my mind off of things.”

Wagner said the environment of Spanish Springs High School has also helped her alleviate stress at times. She said the family-like environment brings a welcoming feeling she hopes will continue in her remaining years.

“What stood out to me most about this school is how much everyone is like a family,” she said. “The leadership and everything is put together so well that you feel so welcome when you are at this school.”
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