Class of 2019 Joe Privratsky senior photo
Joe Privratsky 
What grade did you start attending SLP Schools?
What activities were you involved in while you were a student at Spring Lake Park High School?
Varsity Swim Team, Captain Junior and Senior years; Panther Mentor Program, House Leader Junior and Senior years; National Honor Society; American Legion Minnesota Boys State Representative from Spring Lake Park High School; American Legion Boys Nation Minnesota Senior Senator; Clay Target Team; and Varsity and Symphonic Band. 
What teacher or teachers have had the biggest impact on your educational journey and why?
I am inspired greatly by the study of government and politics. My interest in them are piqued because of two particular teachers- Messrs. Scott Smith and Andrew Stephenson- who taught AP U.S. History and World History respectively my sophomore and junior years. Both had a dry sense of humor but moreover an infectious love for all-things history. They taught, teased and entertained me and my classmates so we would think about the world in different ways than we had before. Because of these two teachers, I became committed to learning about other places and to understanding how different communities govern and help their members succeed. Both Smith and Stephenson's classes motivated me to pursue the Boys State and Boys Nation programs sponsored by the American Legion. Although I also very much enjoy the areas of math and science, I see my future including a career that allows me to act as a leader of a diverse community because of my desire to improve society through better government, which arose for because of Messrs. Smith and Stephenson. 
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan on furthering my studies by attending a four year college, majoring in either Biology or Political Science. My goal is to eventually become a medical doctor, with a strong additional emphasis in government relations. As part of my post-secondary education, I want to study abroad in China. I am waiting on a number of colleges to make their decision about my pending applications, but hope to have made my choice about where I will love and attend school finalized by April 2019. 
How has Spring Lake Park Schools prepared you for your future?
Spring Lake Park Schools has prepared me for my future by offering a safe environment which exposed me to many different ideas and viewpoints. This district's teachers and administrators have given me more than my fair share of opportunities of which to take advantage, constantly finding creative ways to provide multiple learning options. I have taken the offered Advanced Placement classes, been given training and opportunities for leadership and have participated in various extracurricular activities. Its students have also enriched my life. I am fortunate to have a very diverse friend group because of the broad socio-economic range of the areas from where students attending SLP are drawn. Well over 120 ethnicities are represented within the student body, creating a vibrant atmosphere in which I have learned many people's differing perspectives on life. I am leaving SLP having learned much about literature, advanced math and sciences and the world, and most importantly, that no matter people's perceived differences, we all benefit when we join our resources to help one another.  
What advice do you have for incoming ninth grade or students new to Spring Lake Park High School?
There are two pieces of advice I would like to pass along to all incoming ninth grade students. The first, be sure to persevere through the tough times. There will be many instances in your four years of high school that the work and life loads will be intense. Be sure to remember that thousands of students before you have made it through and you will too. We all share many of the same insecurities about our abilities to accomplish goals and overcome obstacles, but as long as we continue to try out best and have the right attitude, we will succeed. The second, do not be afraid to give new things- especially clubs, sports and other activities- a try. You will be amazed by the abundance of opportunities to be involved and get to know others at SLPHS. I guarantee you will find at least one in which you enjoy participating, and that your years in high school will be more rewarding (and fun) because of it. 
What makes you SLP Panther Proud?
The school community that works as a cohesive group makes me SLP Panther Proud. No matter what club, activity or class you choose to participate, at the end of the day, you are a part of the overall SLPHS community. Activities find way to integrate with one another and work together to make SLPHS a great place to be every day. Granted there are differences of opinions at times, but it has been my experience that a majority of students, staff and the administration are focused on creating an environment that is supportive of and actually celebrates all our differences. I appreciate all of the diverse backgrounds and varied perspectives of our student body. SLPHS is a great place to learn how to became an open-minded and accepting adult, ready to contribute in the ever-more divided society that seems to exist today, and because of this I am proud to have been a Panther. 
I am leaving SLP having learned much about literature, advanced math and sciences and the world, and most importantly, that no matter people's perceived differences, we all benefit when we join our resources to help one another.  
Photo taken by Amanda Rae Photography.