When St. Michael’s Academy Principal Sister Marie Vianney thinks about what a student at her school should embody, she has a clear vision.
“I want a St. Michael’s student to be confident, Catholic, engaging of his or her world, and charitable to their fellow man,” she said.
Graduating senior Samuel Welp fits that mold to near perfection.
Welp has been attending St. Michael’s his entire school life, with the exception of one year spent boarding at Mater Dei Academy in Nebraska.
His mother, Susie Welp, said her son strives to do everything in his life with three things in mind: faith, family and friends.
In his case, those three things are all found at his school and church, which is central to who Welp is, and what he wants in the future.
“My faith is the center of my life. It is what I base everything, all my decisions on,” Welp said, adding that he loves the comfort and community that St. Michael’s provides.
The school’s valedictorian is deeply involved in nearly every aspect of St. Michael’s, from school plays and choir to carpentry. He is also a member of the National Honor Society, and devotes much of his time to volunteer work within the school and surrounding community.
One of Welp’s favorite volunteer activities is helping with a kindergarten reading program once a week.
“Sam works so hard, and works cheerfully,” Vianney said. “We can always rely on him to offer help.”
Welp is also an accomplished archer, and has qualified for nationals for the past four years. He learned it during his time in Nebraska, and after discovering he had a natural talent, quickly fell in love with the sport.
“I love the focus and the discipline that comes with archery,” he said. “It has taught me about hard work, memorization skills and the importance of practice.”
Welp said the skills he has learned through archery will continue to be beneficial after high school. He plans to attend Spokane Community College, and hopes to pursue a career as a therapist or a firefighter.
“I want to have a career that combines helping others with some sort of physical activity,” he said.
But unlike many college students, Welp has no desire to get away for school. After boarding in Nebraska for a year at 14, Welp realized that he can’t be away from his tight-knit family or community for too long.
With five siblings, who all attended or are going to school at St. Michael’s, Welp can’t seem to escape the school’s influence, but that isn’t a problem for him.
Welp said the school has become such an important part of his life and upbringing that he hopes to send his children there someday.
Vianney said Welp is special to St. Michael’s simply because of the way he always has carried himself.
“He takes his faith and his future seriously,” she said. “And that can sometimes be hard to find.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day's top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter