AMAZING KIDS: Go-getter tutors, organizes blood drives
On a recent spring morning, Marleigh Hulsey was busy at Estacada High School’s blood drive, kindly directing a woman to the restroom, quickly answering a question from a blood drive volunteer, and consoling and thanking a student who found she couldn’t donate because she wasn’t tall enough.
Hulsey, a 16-year-old junior at Estacada High School, is the student organizer of the school’s blood drives.
“Community service is important to me,” Halsey said. I really enjoy helping people. I like providing opportunities for others, and with the blood drive, it can create life-long donors.”
Hulsey “is a terrific student leader. She regularly donates her time and efforts to school and community activities,” says high school counselor Steven Christiansen, who nominated Halsey to be Estacada’s Amazing Kid.
Hulsey, who donates blood herself, wants to be a nurse to continue her service to the community. She carries a 4.0 grade point average and counts human anatomy as her favorite class in school.
“I like learning about the human body,” she says.
“I think she will be an amazing nurse,” Hulsey’s proud mother, Kari, said.
Hulsey has had several knee surgeries, so she knows how important nurses can be.
“I think having three knee surgeries has really helped her to see how integral nurses are in the care and recovery of a patient. She will be an integral part of a nursing team, and we are all so excited to see what an amazing nurse she will be,” Kari said.
In addition to the blood drive, Halsey is the treasurer of the high school’s student council.
As a member of the National Honor Society, she participates in their volunteer work in elementary school classrooms and other capacities. She also volunteers at Clackamas River Elementary every other day, mentoring and tutoring students.
“The students love her, and she helps them regularly with reading, writing, and math,” Christiansen says.
Hulsey’s mom, Kari, said her daughter has always loved kids.
“Ever since she was a toddler, we started calling her "mother Marleigh" because she was always taking care of those around her. Putting Band-Aids on ouchies, making sure those around her had everything they needed, she has always been "mother Marleigh." Whenever we go out in public, she always finds someone's baby to hold or is on the ground playing with a toddler. She has a natural ability to make babies and children fall in love with her,” Kari said.
Her affinity for children means she is a sought-after babysitter in the Estacada area.
Hulsey is heavily involved in other school activities and was the captain of the first-ever Estacada High School swim team this year.
She’s also an “athletic ambassador” for the high school. In that role, she helps set up for athletic programs and events and does social media.
Hulsey runs the student cafe at the high school, and helps at the non-profit AntFarm garden, which provides vegetables to the Estacada Area Food Bank.
Hulsey comes by her commitment to the community honestly.
“My family loves to help people and are very community-based,” she says.
Hulsey’s mom said, “Our family is a big believer in helping others, serving others, and volunteering to better the lives of those around us and the world, so all her community service doesn't surprise me. It just makes me even prouder of the human that she is. Marleigh has a huge heart and we are just so blessed to be in her presence every single day.”
In her “spare” time Hulsey said she likes to babysit, work out, cook and travel.
Her family has visited 19 national parks and she struggles to name her favorite but eventually settles on Yosemite in California and Saguaro in Arizona as the best two.
But, community service is ever present in her life.
“Connecting people by community service makes me happy and makes me feel like I’m doing something good for the community,” she said.