Since opening its doors in 1960, St. Thomas Aquinas High School has served as a model of academic excellence and educational vision for New Hampshire’s Seacoast. Remaining true to its founders, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, this coeducational Catholic high school maintains a mission to challenge, support and transform young adults so that they are wholly prepared to lead a life enriched by intellectual discourse, spiritual reflection and human integrity.
Over the course of several weeks, we will be presenting our 2017-18 Saint Profiles. These brief profiles allow the greater community to view a cross-section of our students- young adults who are varied in their interests, skills, talents and personalities. And all of whom represent our diverse student body- young men and women who are embraced and cherished at St. Thomas Aquinas High School as our living SaintsPride.
Today’s featured student is one of our international UTP students. STA and UTP have a mutually appreciative professional partnership and we are blessed to have international students adding global insights and information to our domestic students’ educational experience.
Meet Stanislav (“Stas”) Pak: American Culture, Guitar, Singing, Physics, History and Milk Chocolate
Given the frigid outside air temperatures, it is easy to understand how our minds at 197 Dover Point Rd. have turned to… Siberia. In the small Siberian town of Oymyakon, the average winter temperature usually hovers around -60 degrees, and while this doesn’t make us feel altogether better, it does give us a new appreciation for those who inhabit such a place. Many, many miles west of Oymyakon in the Russian port city of St. Petersburg, one teenager almost assuredly brings warmth and cheer to all he meets. This year, we are blessed to have him doing the same for all of us here at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
Introducing… Stanislav (“Stas”) Pak.
Studying as a current sophomore, Stas is a member of the STA UTP program that invites international students to spend a year (or longer) studying at St. Thomas Aquinas. From the moment he stepped foot onto campus, all involved in this young man’s transition knew it would be a fabulous fit.
“I like the United States very much,” Stas says in his highly proficient English. “It is a country of different people, different cultures. I love St. Thomas Aquinas High School because of the energy that the kids and teachers give to one another.” While Stas may admire the STA energy, he has effortlessly added his own unique contributions to SaintsPride.
While some international students may take a while to acclimate to the American high school experience, it is fair to say that Stas leapt into the country (and our high school) with both feet shod in Nike and ready to run. Always ready to participate, always eager to share his thoughts, always present with an explosive (and wonderfully contagious) enthusiasm for life, Stas has been a true joy to our St. Thomas Aquinas community.
“I like American music a lot,” he laughs. “Pop-rap, pop-trap and songs like ‘Good at Goodbyes’ by Sam Smith.” Met with a quizzical look, he simply shrugs, smiles and jaunts off down the hallway.
His energetic personality is tempered only by his zealous participation in many different activities and his exploration of a vast number of interests. Stas plays the guitar, sings, enjoys video games (and reading physics books), watching YouTube and working on cars (“I used to be a mechanic”).
With such a colorful personality, Stas often receives questions about his home life and family. Are they all so ebullient? “I have six family members back home,” Stas shares openly. “My mother and father (Tatiana and Denis), my two younger brothers, Dima and Denis, and our cat, Peny.” While he doesn’t say much about daily life in St. Petersburg, he is quick to add his two cents about what would make STA an even better place. “Gym. I wish we had gym class; it would be my favorite subject. But, it is ok. I like U.S. History, Biology and Physics, too. And milk chocolate. I like milk chocolate the most.” Of course, he does.
It is this simple, transcendent joy for life that makes Stas Pak one-in-a-million. We are deeply grateful to have him walk among our students, faculty and staff and deepen our appreciation for the Russian people, particularly this one remarkable young export.