MT. ANGEL - Apathy bothers Alex Morrissey. A lot.
"I can't stand to just sit back and watch what is going on without being a part of it," said Morrissey, who was recently selected Mt. Angel's Junior First Citizen for 2009. "I take a lot of pride in Mt. Angel and Kennedy High School.
"People used to tell me, 'Just take it easy - give up this or that activity' and I just couldn't do that. There's no way. I just feel like I have to take part in whatever is going on. It's just who I am."
Morrissey, who is the ASB president at Kennedy, could never be called apathetic. He is involved in every aspect of school life - academics, athletics, band, honor society and a slew of extracurricular groups, including Habitat for Humanity, FFA and Future Business Leaders of America.
He believes the high school and the Mt. Angel community are linked and sees it as his personal mission to strengthen the connection between the two.
"Our school is not just like a tiny school in a big, huge city. It is so much a part of the town and it really affects everything that is going on . . . Mt. Angel is a big part of who I am and I want to see it succeed and do well."
The charismatic, high-energy young man has already left his mark on the community, including the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. No one who witnessed the "Do, Re, Mi Dance" as last year's festival will soon forget the seemingly spontaneous folk dance that dazzled festival visitors and local residents alike. Under the guidance of Nan Fleck, Morrissey took this on as his senior project, handling much of the planning, choreographing, recruiting, training and coaching to make the dance happen.
Morrissey, who is the son of Dallas Morrissey of Vancouver and Theresa Kinkaid of Mt. Angel, grew up in Mt. Angel, and lives with Jeff and Theresa Kinkaid.
As you can imagine, his "down time" is limited, but even then Morrissey is driven by a desire to meet new people and make new friends. He said one of the advantages of being involved in so many activities like sports and FFA is that he now has friends virtually all over the state.
His wide-ranging circle of friends is one reason Morrissey is planning to run for a FFA state office this spring. Though it would mean delaying college enrollment for a year, the idea of travelling around the state and working with high school students through FFA is very appealing to Morrissey. His college plans, whether he starts next year or the year after, are focused on attending Pt. Loma Nazarene University in Southern California, where Morrissey hopes to compete in track and field and play in the band.
But Morrissey says he still has some major goals to accomplish before then.
"I want to keep my 4.0 GPA and be valedictorian. I want to help our boys track team win a state championship this spring. It will take a lot of work, but I want to try to win state in the 110 high hurdles."
Morrissey pauses for a moment and adds, "I really want to make a difference. I want to have an impact."