January 2020 Student of the Month
Royalton High School faculty selected Erin Zapzalka as their January Student of the Month. Erin, the daughter of Danelle and Tim Zapzalka, learned about hard work and caring for others from her parents: her dad works on the family farm and her mom is a nurse.
Erin is involved in numerous activities at RHS. She enjoys band because of her love of music and learning different instruments. She also volunteers with Minnesota Honor Society, helps the environment in Y.E.S. Club, plans events with student council, as well as participating in softball, volleyball and serving as a wrestling manager. Randy Thielges, science teacher and basketball coach says, “Erin is one of the students you can ask anything of her and she will complete the task well and on time.”
Director of Bands, Chris Coppicus states, “Erin is a gifted musician. She directs our summer marching band, our concert band and jazz band with her French horn in hand. She is one of our strongest seniors throughout academics, athletics, and the arts.”
Her musical talents follow her outside of school where Erin plays trumpet at her church for Christmas and Easter masses. She also volunteers at the Little Falls Humane Society and works at Scheels in St. Cloud. She explains that at Scheels she is able to bridge her love of helping people and her knowledge about outdoor activity equipment together. She hopes that the skills acquired in her job will help as a nurse in her future.
When asked about influential teachers, Erin notes that Mr. Thielges, Mr. Schoenrock and Mr. Makela stand at the top of her list. These teachers “have their own way of teaching, and they each have a sense of humor to accompany their teaching styles.”
One highlight of Erin’s high school career was the morning the power went out right before school. She and her classmates sat in the Lion’s Den while singing songs and talking which, strangely, created a strong bond between them all.
A playoff softball game from her sophomore year stands as one of her greatest sporting memories. “We were down by two in the top of the ninth inning. There were two outs and I was up to bat while two of my teammates were on second and third base. Although I only had 1 strike left before the game was over, I felt no pressure. The next pitch, I hit the ball into the outfield which drove my two teammates home making the score tied. We ended up working as a team and won the game; moving onto the next round of playoffs. Seeing how a team can work together and overcome the challenge of the game has always stayed in my mind. “
After high school, Erin plans to attend the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, with hopes to pursue a career in Registered Nursing. In ten years, Erin hopes to have all of her schooling completed and be working at a job that is “perfect” for her. She also hopes for marriage and a family.
When passing on advice for underclassmen,, Erin states, “Yes, homework is important, but so is time with friends and having fun. If you use time management and have a good balance between the two, then you will be successful in school and be able to have fun, too.”