For Laursen Lancaster, who graduates this month from St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, attending the school sponsored by the Sisters of Pallottine Missionary Society, is a family affair.
Her father, Marshall Lancaster is an English teacher there, and her sister, Anna Page, will be a freshman there in the fall.
“I had my dad as a teacher for AP English and literature,” Lancaster said, adding that once her friends and classmates realized she was the daughter of a teacher, it never really caused any problems. “I’ve made really good friends here because there is a really good group of people here.”
During her years at Pallotti, Lancaster was a four-year member of the varsity tennis team, serving two years as captain; and a two-year member of the varsity swim team, serving one year as captain. In addition to lettering in those sports, she twice received the coach’s award in tennis and was a recipient of the school’s scholar athlete award.
Keeping up with her studies while excelling as an athlete she said, “was a lot of work, but it was fun.”
Her 4.42 grade point average is higher than the perfect 4.0 as it was weighted up due to the advanced placement classes she took. Listed on the Principal’s List all four years of her schooling at Pallotti, Lancaster had the highest GPA of her freshman year class, and is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
Outside of the classroom, Lancaster was a rector of the Student Union where she helped coordinate and organize school retreats and help prepare for school Masses; a member of school’s jazz band and wind ensemble, where she played the euphonium, the baritone-toned brass instrument somewhat smaller than a tuba.
In addition, she served an internship in the office of U.S. Rep. Charles Albert “Dutch” Ruppersberger, a Democrat representing Maryland’s second congressional district that includes Baltimore City and parts of Anne Arundel, Harford, Baltimore and Howard counties.
“Working in a congressional office is difficult, but every exciting,” she said. “It was really cool to see the government at work.”
Lancaster enjoys serving others. She recently completed a mission trip to Belize where she spent a week painting a school, feeding the elderly, visiting students, and performing other works of charity. She also has volunteered at Puppypalooza, an animal adoption event that finds homes for cats and dogs in animal rescue shelters.
In the fall, she will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, she will major in global studies with a minor in Spanish, with an eye toward a future career “in something humanitarian, hopefully where I can serve using the Spanish I learn.”
A native of Silver Spring, Lancaster attended St. Andrew Apostle School prior to attending Pallotti. Although she is not a Catholic, Lancaster said her parents chose a Catholic education for her because “my family is very faithful and it was important to my parents that I get a good education.”
Laursen and her family are members of St. Paul United Methodist Church, where she serves as an acolyte.
“The community here is very special and very close,” she said. “I don’t think I just gained knowledge here, but I grew a lot as a person and built my character.”
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