When Olivia Kressin became involved with the Student Ambassador Program at McDonell Area Catholic Schools, coordinator Mary Jacobson said she was always respectful and a good kid — but Kressin also seemed shy and unsure of herself.
That seems to have changed.
“But what I saw probably mostly in her senior year was a greater confidence, and then you can kind of see her true character,” Jacobson said, later adding, “Her kindness showed because she was more confident in stepping up and volunteering more.”
Now, the graduated 18-year-old is pushing outside of the Chippewa Falls comfort zone she has always known and is preparing to leave for college at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, at the end of the summer.
“Originally, I was a little nervous because I’m kind of the only one in my class to be going farther away,” Kressin said. “But then the more I think about it, I get more excited, and I’m just excited to start a new adventure and kind of close this chapter in my life. But it should be interesting because I really have no idea what I’m doing, but that’s the fun of it.”
Kressin graduated with her 31 other classmates in McDonell Central Catholic High School’s commencement ceremony on May 22. She has ended a school career filled with athletic successes, volunteering opportunities and taking on a medical job in preparation for her career.
Starting in fourth grade, Kressin had a passion for athletics. She first joined volleyball, and then in fifth grade she found her passion in basketball.
Kressin played volleyball through her junior year of high school and basketball through her senior year, including off-season play through the Amateur Athletic Union, where many college teams scout for players.
Despite not wanting to play at a college level, Kressin said she valued her time in athletics.
“I love the camaraderie, love playing with my friends, but basketball, I had a real love for it,” Kressin said. “But I really loved being able to play with my friends while learning a lot of core values.”
Now, Kressin’s focus has shifted to her job as a certified nursing assistant at Dove Healthcare — Wissota Health & Regional Vent Center and taking on her own volunteering tasks.
Through the student ambassadors program at her school, Kressin had an endless array of volunteering options she could take part in.
Always willing to step up and take on volunteering tasks, Jacobson said Kressin was genuine when asking if there was more volunteering she could take on. Kressin’s sincerity, Jacobson said, was also obvious, as Jacobson could tell Kressin was interested in helping others in an altruistic sense.
“When you always kind of have someone like Olivia around, you know that she will be there if her schedule allows,” Jacobson said, adding that Kressin is someone who thinks through her actions, recognizing when she can help out.
Her job as a nursing assistant has also taught Olivia the value in thinking through actions and reactions, especially within the medical field.
“I think working there helped me to realize that one little mistake can change someone’s life,” Kressin said.
Kressin, who will study nursing in college as a way to get more involved in the medical field, originally wanted to study neurosurgery, but is now considering pediatric work.
She will study once again at a smaller Catholic school, but Kressin said she is looking forward to the expansive city of Austin, especially its music scene.
In getting to the point where she is, Kressin credits her mom, Michele, for helping her plan and track her busy schedule and has only found the struggle of balancing school, work and play.
“So when I was working and going to school and doing volunteer work, I think the hardest part of it like there literally aren’t enough hours in the day,” Kressin said. “I never really ran out of energy, but it was just like, ‘Oh my gosh there’s not enough hours to do this.’ ”
But in fitting all her activities into 24 hours, Kressin said she has been taught a valuable life lesson.
“The possibilities are endless; there is a way to do it…” Kressin said. “If you really want to do something, you’ll figure out a way to make everything balance, and it’ll seem kind of hard at first, but it will eventually work itself out.”
Kressin is the daughter of Michele and Matthew Kressin. She has one younger brother, Eion, who will turn 16 on July 1.