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#1StudentNWI: Students at Andrean

Baseball, Leadership, and New Students

Even though the school year officially ended in May, the Fifty-Niners continued to succeed outside of the classroom well into the month of June. One state athletic title just wasn’t enough this year, and on June 16, the Niners brought home the 3A Baseball State Title.

According to senior Clay Thompson, the team had been working toward that single game all year.

“Our goal… was to win the last game of the year, which was obviously the state championship,” Thompson said. “That was our goal, to get there and win it. We kind of knew what we were capable of doing going into the season.”

However, getting there might have actually been the more difficult part. The Fifty-Niners played South Bend Saint Joseph High School for the Semi-State Championship. At the time, Andrean was number one in the state rankings, while their opponent was number two.

“I’d probably say that was our toughest game,” Thompson said. The Niners kept their wits about them, and with a final score of 2-1, Andrean moved on to the state championship, and the rest was history.

Later on in the month Andrean sent two rising seniors to Hoosier Girls State, a program run by the American Legion to help high school girls learn more about leadership and their government. This year, Maura McQuillen and Adriana Cattan were selected to attend the week-long camp. At first, Cattan felt nervous about the whole ordeal, but after a few days, she started to understand what Hoosier Girls State is all about.

“A lot of us thought oh, we’re going to be learning about it, but no, you’re campaigning for these positions,” Cattan said. “So you’re writing the speeches, you’re making the posters, you’re going all out and that makes it a lot more fun, but also nerve-wracking, too, because you’re trying to get your fellow peers to vote for you.”

Looking back at the week, Cattan learned a lot about taking chances and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

“I think it’s okay not to know what you’re really getting yourself into,” she said. Cattan realized that being a leader means giving your best, even when you’re outside of your comfort zone.

The Fifty-Niners will return to the classroom on August 14; freshmen will have their orientation the day prior.

STUDENT FEATURE — Marissa McCollum


National College Decision Day (May 1) is the day by which most college-bound high school seniors have chosen where they will spend their next next four years. By early May this past year, Andrean student Marissa McCollum, unlike most of her peers, was still waiting for her acceptance letter.

Unconventional only begins to describe McCollum’s college experience so far, and her journey at the University of Chicago (one of the most selective universities in the country) has only just begun. Or at least, it will begin in a year. After initially being placed on the waitlist, McCollum was offered admission to UChicago with the stipulation that she take a gap year before matriculating in 2019.

At first, McCollum was hesitant to accept the offer. Gap years are relatively uncommon in the United States, and the practice definitely is not for everyone. However, after talking with friends, family, guidance officers, and even her principal, McCollum came to a realization.


“The one thing that kept coming up was ‘I don’t think gap years are a good idea, but I think it would be good for you,’” she said. “And that just made me realize—it’s okay to be slightly different.”

While many teenagers might struggle to find something to do with a year away from traditional education, McCollum has had no problem keeping herself busy. She already works as a lifeguard and a table busser, but this past spring, McCollum took a course at the University of Saint Francis in Crown Point to become a certified nursing assistant, or CNA.

McCollum, along with nine other Andrean students, enrolled in the eight-week course near the end of this past school year. After four weeks of classroom instruction, the students started their clinicals at Symphony nursing home in Crown Point. After completing her CNA certification on June 20, McCollum moved right on to working towards her MA certification. She is also currently waiting to hear back from Community Healthcare about a possible job opportunity for her as a CNA.

McCollum has always been interested in biology and in healthcare, but she’s not sure as to whether she will pursue the medical field in college. Taking a gap year provides extra time for her to explore the many facets of healthcare and decide whether she truly wants to study biology in college. The past year as a whole has taught her that she needs to find the path that’s right for her, even if it’s not what everyone else is doing.



Going into his senior year, Andrean student Tom Pampalone has a lot on his plate. Between theatre tech, academic teams, varsity tennis, and National Honor Society, Pampalone has something scheduled nearly every waking moment. Still, despite his multitude of extracurriculars, Pampalone managed an unweighted 4.0 GPA and a 36 on the ACT, all while taking as many AP and honors courses as Andrean has to offer.

With all of these impressive achievements already under his belt, Pampalone’s next step should come as no surprise. This fall, he will be applying to several highly selective colleges, including Northwestern, Notre Dame, and MIT. Pampalone hopes to pursue engineering, though he isn’t entirely sure what field he will study.

“Chemistry was always really interesting for me, so that’s kind of steered me toward material science,” he said.

This past month, Pampalone attended Notre Dame’s Intro to Engineering Program. On top of getting a taste of what engineering at the college level is like, Pampalone hopes this camp and others like it will help him to decide which field interests him the most.

“I think it’s really important to have experience in engineering before you say you want to go do it in college,” he said. Some of the activities at the camp included coding robots and designing a cost-effective and structurally sound bridge. Pampalone will also attend a similar camp at Purdue later this summer.

As he begins his senior year, Pampalone will take on several leadership positions he did not hold last year, including president of NHS and vice president of Thespian Society. For now though, he plans to just sit back and enjoy his summer break while he can.

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