Tristen Poe’s senior year didn’t finish quite as he, or anyone, expected. Due to COVID-19, he and the rest of La Porte High School’s students have finished up their classes from home and are facing a delayed graduation ceremony in July that will be much different than the one’s La Porte High School has known before. A surprise for sure, but Poe is not letting it dampen his enthusiasm for the future he’s been working toward for years.
Poe is one the most active students in La Porte, serving as year book editor, Key Club member, Spanish Club treasurer, Student Advisory Council member, and co-captain of the tennis team. But one of the most important parts of his life is his membership in the Scipio Sensations 4-H Club for the last 10 years.
“I feel like a community should basically be a big family, where everyone puts up a strong front to improve the lives of those within it,” he said. “That philosophy started in 4-H. The leaders there showed me just how impactful it can be to do simple things like cleaning up at an elementary school, to larger things like donating to the New Day Foundation.”
He knew that he wanted to find a way to serve the community through his career path, but did not really have a concrete plan in mind for what to do until he found a passion for science and biochemistry during high school and decided to pursue anesthesiology.
“It wasn’t until my sophomore year that the interest really started taking flight,” he said. “I’d be able to work in a field that I love, while also playing a role in saving lives.”
Poe credits his teachers, especially John Sherrick, with helping him find a vision for his own future.
“He had a different teaching style than others, but I knew it was for the best,” Poe said. “He was always challenging us to do our best and push towards our limits. As a senior, I can see how his approach both gets you ready for college and ready for your profession.”
Despite the unorthodox finish to his high school career, Poe is already getting set to attend Indiana University Bloomington for Biochemistry. The biggest reason he’s been able to get this far, he said, is his mom Kellie Woods.
“The only person that stands above all else is my mom,” he said. “For all that she has done for me throughout my difficult and exciting years, no words can describe how thankful I am. Without her, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today.”
Though he’s looking forward to living on his own out in Bloomington, he loves his hometown of La Porte.
“I feel like there’s so much here in this little town that we have, from the people and businesses to all the events that we have,” Poe said. “It’s kind of like a family, and it this community has an extraordinary ability to come together and support local events and groups in need. I am proud to consider myself a member of the La Porte community.”