“I didn’t really like kids” isn’t typically an opening line that’s likely to grab one honors and awards. At least not desirable ones.
But, Levi Biasco isn’t a typical high school kid. And, fortunately, his ExCEL Award nomination essay didn’t end there. Biasco, son of Tye and Susan, went on to say he didn’t really like kids before this summer. And what made him change his mind? Oh, just a little volunteer trip to Ecuador.
That mission trip is one of many impressive things Biasco has done in recent years, and it’s just a drop in the bucket of his encompassing personality and all-around ability.
In Ecuador, Biasco learned to love helping kids. Interestingly enough, as a kid is when Biasco learned to love helping in general.
“When I was younger, my mom couldn’t say no to any volunteer opportunity,” said Biasco. “I got tired of it, because I was always helping out. But eventually that just grew on me. Now I like to say yes, and see people’s reactions when they get helped.”
The reactions this summer were probably the most rewarding yet.
Biasco went on the trip to Ecuador through Quarry Church, expecting to do fellowship work, but anticipating much of it would be with adults. Instead, most of the trip ended up geared around a kids’ camp in Quito. In the essay, Biasco tells how his attitude toward kids changed quickly.
“I was amazed at how every kid came up to us with big smiles, giving us hugs and simply wanting to spend time with us,” wrote Biasco. “These children didn’t have the advantages I had with all of the technology and education I grew up taking for granted. A lot of them didn’t even have loving families to go home to. It was then that I decided to love on the kids using every minute I had left to spend with them.”
That approach from Biasco certainly must have served the kids in Ecuador well. And it’s served others well before the children in Ecuador. He’s been going on mission trips for years, leaving the state a couple of times, while also doing local work.
“I love just seeing the way that we affect people by going there and being benevolent to them,” said Biasco.
As much as Biasco loves volunteering, he finds time and energy to enjoy much, much more.
He says sports allow him time with friends, and the opportunity to exercise. He’s taken advantage of those opportunities by already earning two varsity letters in soccer and one in tennis. In music, Biasco finds the undeniable opportunity to be creative. He’s chased that as he lettered in the school musical, while spending his spare time (which there isn’t always much of) working on guitar.
And academics, well that’s where Biasco really looks to cash in on the chances he is given.
“I have these advantages to learn what I can, and to take all of these advanced classes for free,” said Biasco.
The way he tells it, he’d be crazy not to take advantage. So again, he does. Biasco just finished a loaded first semester schedule including Pre-Calc, College in School Spanish 4, AP English and Physics.
He admits that it’s hard work, and that it keeps him quite busy, but there is no way he’d rather have it.
With the combination of being in a fall and spring sport, plus new classes beginning, or other classes ending, Biasco points to the beginning and the end of the school year as the busiest time. But interestingly, that doesn’t make it the most difficult time for him.
“The fascinating thing is at the beginning and the end of the school year I’m also the least stressed about getting everything done,” he said. “I know that I have less time and I just naturally get everything done instead of procrastinating.”
Contact Clay Sawatzke at firstname.lastname@example.org