Editor's note: This is the first of a series of 10 personality stories on the Top 10 academic students in the Loudonville High School Class of 2018.
LOUDONVILLE — Mackenna Luyster's goal is to become a therapist, someone who helps other people.
She is already a significant way toward that goal, as she has picked up a considerable number of college credits through the College Credit Plus program, offered at LHS throughout area universities.
"I will be close to having an associate's degree in psychology when I graduate from high school," she said.
With a solid 3.7 accumulated academic average, Luyster is one of the Top 10 academic students in the LHS Class of 2018.
She is the daughter and one of four children of Chad and Angel Luyster of Perrysville. Her older sister, Alexa Stout, is a licensed practical nurse now working at Colonial Manor Health Care Center in Loudonville, and also working on her Registered Nurse designation.
Her younger siblings are Lily, age 10 and a fourth-grader in the Loudonville-Perrysville Schools, and Kaden, 9 and a third-grader.
Her father is a corrections officer at the Richland Correctional Institute in Mansfield, and her mother a homemaker.
Luyster's immediate plans are to continue her education at North Central State College to earn her associate's in psychology, and then to pursue more advanced degrees, and credentials to be a therapist, at another university.
"It seems like forever that I have wanted to be a therapist, but influencing that preference is watching my sister work in nursing," she explained. "I see her help people with medical needs, and I hope to help people with problems."
Luyster has had a very pleasant experience at LHS, influenced by great experiences from three very special teachers.
"My band teacher, Angela Spreng, has given me the confidence to no longer be afraid of making mistakes; my biology teacher David Spreng taught me to work very hard to achieve perfection, and to have a good time while doing it; and my American history teacher Eric Stoner inspired me to dig deeper into subjects and explore materials beyond what is required. He is a great guy, and helped me realize my academic potential," she said, describing each of them.
She also noted "my mother is very strong, and also urges me to work hard; my dad is very supportive and encouraging; and my sister Alexa inspires me because she is so thorough and so diligent. That inspiration gets me through tough things."
In addition to the LHS band, Luyster is a member of the National Honor Society and the Leo Club at LHS, and proudly noted "our Leo Club just finished serving a very successful lasagna dinner, and will host the spring Leo Club gathering at Camp Nuhop on Pleasant Hill Lake."
He also is a helper for her younger sister's Girl Scout Troop. She was a Girl Scout herself, part of the group that installed the five Armed Services flags behind the veterans memorial in Loudonville's Central Park a few years ago.
In her spare times she enjoys crafts, primarily making cards, and she is an avid reader. "Maybe I'm a little old for it, but I really like teen fiction," she said. "My favorite author is Sarah Dessen."