MINA WILLANDER - Photographer for The Orbit, Cross Country, Winter and Spring Track

This week we highlight senior Mina Willander. Motivated by an artistic impulse toward capturing images through photography, Mina’s creativity and personality radiates and inspires as she collects moments and memories with her camera at RMHS. She has a great spirit for adventure and is spontaneous. In third grade Mina moved to Reading from Belmont and attended Killam Elementary school. She then went to Coolidge Middle school before coming to the high school. This year Mina is taking AP Studio Art - Digital Photography, Facing History, French 5, Functions Statistics & Trigonometry, Honors Journalism, Honors Story Writing, Honors Psychology and Law.

Throughout her high school career Mina has been active in the RMHS community by participating in a great selection of clubs. Sophomore year she joined the Club for Cats and Canines (CCC) and during her junior year she joined the Yearbook Club, Cooking Club, and the Outdoors Club. Last year Mina contributed to the school magazine The New Currency by having three of her poems featured. As a senior Mina joined The Orbit, the school's newspaper, as a photographer. Mina takes pictures for Track, Cross Country, and other activities and clubs. Mina says, “I want to help others in RMHS remember their memories with photos I can take.”

While participating in the Club for Cats and Canines, Mina and her classmates were able to raise money for animal shelters by collecting and recycling cans.

Mina adds, “I participated because it was an easy way to help local organizations and animals.” In the Outdoors Club, Mina has taken part in beach clean ups. She says, “I want to support the environment, especially when there are so many ways I can that are convenient.”

In addition to clubs Mina has also participated in Cross Country and Winter and Spring Track at RMHS for four years. She participates in hurdle events such as the 50 meter hurdles and 100 meter hurdles.

The summer after sophomore year Mina worked as a Girl Scout Camp Counselor. Junior year Mina worked at Chili's Grill & Bar. This year Mina is preparing for her National Guard Basic Training by going to once a month weekend drills at Camp Curtis Guild here in Reading.

Some fun facts about Mina are that her favorite food is cheesy scalloped potatoes. Her favorite dessert is tiramisu. Mina’s favorite animals are sheep. Her favorite movie is Whiplash and her favorite actress is Jonah Hill. Her favorite book is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Her favorite quote is from Game of Thrones, “All men must die, but we are not men.” — Daenerys Targaryen. In her free time Mina enjoys spending time with friends, and watching movies or TV. She also likes going to Boston on weekends and taking photos.

When asked who Mina would like to thank, Mina expresses appreciation for her mom saying, “I would like to thank my Mom for teaching me how to do everything from cooking to taxes. She has let me travel to so many places and see so many different cultures. I also would like to thank my middle school 7th and 8th grade science teacher, Mr. Coyne, for teaching in such a fun way that made me more excited about learning.”

In addition Mina has three teachers that she would like to thank. “Teachers that have made an influence on my development are Mr. Coyne from Cooldige, and Mr. DeBenedictus and Mrs. Dailey. Mr. Coyne created fun, exciting science classes. Mr. DeBenedictus is one of the best teachers I have, I don’t think I learn more from any other class than Facing History. I think anyone who has an opportunity to take his class should. I have learned a substantial amount of America’s history of discrimination, and I have only been in his class for a few months. Mrs. Dailey creates a comfortable environment in the classes I have had with her. In her photography classes, I got way more into photography than before. I am never afraid to ask for help in her class.”

Mina plans on attending Umass Lowell or a similar state school during the spring semester. She is starting college in the spring because that is when she will be finished with her National Guard Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). She will be trained in Fort Jackson, Virginia and Gordon, Georgia. Mina is training to be a Signal Support Specialist, handling radio equipment and similar electronics.

Mina plans on majoring in Political Science. She has many other interests like photography and travel. She says, “I want to pursue a side job of taking photos, whether for a lot of money or little. I like taking photos of my friends, but I also love taking street photography. I also love traveling. I have been traveling all my life with my family to places like Spain, China, Canada, and tons of national parks in the US.”

Mina is the daughter of Paula Guan and Sten Willander. She is the sister of Nils Willander. (21). Mina resides on Libby Ave.

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