Class of 2016: Campillo considers career as physician’s assistant

Editor's Note: This is the fourth and final story in a series focusing on graduating seniors at Worthington High School. WORTHINGTON -- This morning, Arleny Campillo is waking up --maybe not quite yet, depending on how early this is being read, b...

Arleny Campillo

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final story in a series focusing on graduating seniors at Worthington High School.

WORTHINGTON - This morning, Arleny Campillo is waking up -maybe not quite yet, depending on how early this is being read, but soon - fully commenced from life at Worthington High School.
Last night, she proceeded with the rest of her classmates to the stage in the Worthington High School gymnasium, received her diploma, flipped the tassel on her mortarboard and then commenced celebrating this achievement in her life.
It’s a milestone that comes with a lot of joy, but also a bit of trepidation about what the future holds.
“I used to say I hated high school,” admitted Arleny more than a week before the Class of 2016 graduation ceremony, “but as the time is getting closer, I know there are things I will miss.”
Born and raised in Worthington, Arleny is the daughter of Griselda Flores and Plutarco Campillo. She has one younger brother, Adam Armstrong, age 10.
Arleny’s high school career was one of varied pursuits, including dance, soccer, yearbook staff, serving as a class officer, FCCLA and even participating in a culinary competition.
FCCLA - Family, Career and Community Leaders of America - is Arleny’s involvement of longest duration. This national career and technical student organization offers personal growth, leadership development, and career preparation opportunities for students in family and consumer sciences education.
“In eighth grade, Mrs. (Pat) Henkels got me involved in that, and I’ve been in it ever since,” Arleny said. “It’s been really fun. You get to go to competitions, pick an issue you can talk about and how you can make it better.”
Additionally, local FCCLA members have several projects each year, such as carving pumpkins for and helping with the annual Halloween party for children at Worthington’s Pioneer Village. They also sewed children’s dresses for children in Africa and - new this year - did presentations on dental health at the elementary school.
“We taught the kids how to brush their teeth and floss every night,” Arleny said.
As far as FCCLA competitions, Arleny said, a bit sheepishly, “I’m pretty good. My partner and I usually get silver or bronze. … You do a lot of research, get interviews with people.
“Our first year, we did something on fashion - on brands,” Arleny continued. “The second year, it was on teen pregnancy, but we didn’t get to go (to state competition) because of a storm. I can’t remember what we did last year, but then we finally got to present on teen pregnancy.”
For Arleny, FCCLA instilled greater confidence in her abilities.
“I like just being involved and helping out my community,” she said. “Mrs. (Bonnie) Bents just makes it really fun. I got better at communicating and talking. I used to be really shy, and I used to be really quiet when I talked. Now I speak louder.
“The first year, it was kind of terrifying,” she elaborated about FCCLA competition. “But then you get in the room with these two old people (the judges), and they are so nice and make everything better.”
After participating in the school’s dance team program in her younger years, Arleny decided to give soccer a try.
“I just wanted to do something different, because I had been in dance, but I’m not a big sports person,” said Arleny. “But I got injured last year in the last game - tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), but I didn’t get surgery on it until September.”
Although she would have liked to play soccer again as a senior, the injury was too severe, so Arleny rejoined the Trojettes Dance Team.
“We performed during halftime at games and in competition,” said Arleny, noting that the jazz team, of which she was not a part, made it to state competition this year. “This year I just did the kick team.”
As her class vice president, Arleny assumed a lot of responsibilities because the president took advantage of the post-secondary education option to take classes at the Minnesota West Community and Technical College campus. As graduation neared, she and her class colleagues had to decide on such things as class flower (the red gerbera), class colors (black, red and silver), class motto, etc.
“We did something different this year, which was Senior Week,” Arleny said. “We did dress-up days - American Monday, Nerd Day, Pink Day, Flashback Friday - and got some gift cards donated that we gave out.”
Arleny has also been involved in putting out the yearbook that will document all such activities from throughout her senior year and was part of a culinary team that competed in Marshall.
“There were different categories,” she described the culinary event. “I was in Fruit Cutting and got third place. It’s fruit decoration, basically. I made a panda out of an apple and some grapes. I looked it up on Pinterest and my dad helped me. He’s the cook at our house.”
Do Arleny’s own culinary talents extend beyond fruit animals?
“I’m good at making spaghetti,” she said, “but sometimes I burn the rice.”
When it comes to academics, Arleny’s strengths are in the math and science departments.She finished up all her required math credits as a junior.
“I like math, and I think I’m pretty good at it to an extent,” she said. “I like chemistry and biology. I used to not like science, but then I was getting good grades, so I decided I think I do like it, and I’m good at it.”
Although she likes to read, English and literature are not Arleny’s strong suits, but her biggest weakness, she admits, is gym class.
“I had to take a class right now to graduate,” she said. “It’s called Competitive Team Sports - my last thing to get in.”
When fall rolls around again, Arleny expects to still be in Worthington, getting her general college classes out of the way at Minnesota West.
“Then I will most likely go to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion,” she shared. “It has a good medical and nursing program.”
For a long time, Arleny has considered a possible career as a pediatrician, but the years of schooling needed to become a doctor are daunting. Instead, she is considering a career as a physician’s assistant specializing in younger patients.
“I like to work with kids - but not for a long period of time,” she qualified with a laugh. “When I was in middle school, I had to go to the doctor a lot because I had scoliosis. My doctor from Sioux Falls was really nice, and he told me a lot about his job. I also really like my doctor here (in Worthington).”
Arleny has already gotten some practice working with children in her part-time job in the Payless store located at ShopKo.
“I started last year, in the summer after I turned 17,” said Arleny, who is yet to turn 18. “I really like it when I get to work with others - I have fun with my co-workers and manager - but most of the time I work a lone. It can get lonely, and I start talking to myself. But I really like working with the kids, measuring their feet and getting to talk with them.”
But 10 years down the road, she hopes the kids with whom she works will be patients, not shoe store customers.
“I hope to be done (with schooling), and I’d like to be living out in Washington state,” she detailed about her dreams for the future. “Or someplace like that where it’s rainy. I enjoy the rain. I think I sleep better. I have family out there, and it’s really nice out there.”


Related Topics: PEOPLE
What To Read Next
Professional researcher Debbie Boe will give an introduction to family history research for new genealogists.
Parga and fellow SWIF staff will lead the foundation’s Grow Our Own framework, focused on helping southwest Minnesota kids and families reach their full potential from cradle to career.
The event will include viewing a live webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of State over Zoom, followed by a question and answer session with community members and Kivu Law staff.
Everyone is invited to bring in a photo of their pet, friend or partner, or a favorite card or memento, so that the library can make it part of a display.