Memphis Catholic strives to prepare well-rounded students to be servant leaders. Gene Lamanilao is the epitome of a servant leader. A graduate of the class of 2012, Lamanilao was no stranger to leadership during his four years at the school. He served as president of the Spanish Club, co-founder of the Art Club, and Mostellar House captain. And beyond being a leader, Lamanilao knows how to serve. While a student at Rhodes College, he volunteered as a service-site coordinator for a local soup kitchen, assisted with Compassion Neighborhood Clinic through Caritas, and co-founded a local chapter of the Food Recovery Network.
Asked about his top three accomplishments, Lamanilao thought for a moment before listing off three quite different accolades (in “no particular order” he notes). First, he was awarded the Clarence Day Scholarship. He credits Memphis Catholic for “making [him] a distinguished candidate for the scholarship,” which helped bring him to where he is today. Second, he lists completing the St. Jude half-marathon in December 2015. Training, he says, for the half-marathon and the full marathon (just completed this December 2016) has helped teach him the virtues of discipline and perseverance. Finally, Lamanilao recalls winning 2nd place for best research presentation at the University of Arkansas in November 2015. He was honored to be selected to present research from the bio-organic chemistry lab where he worked on campus and attributes his success to the many opportunities he had on campus to refine his presentation skills.
Lamanilao intends to pursue a career in medicine now that he has graduated from Rhodes, a career path largely influenced by his experiences in the Education That Works program. As a high school student, Lamanilao worked at UT Medical, Baptist Memorial, and UT Pharmacy. While he had long been interested in medicine, he can pinpoint the moment when interest turned into focused direction. He recalls a day when his supervisor at Baptist allowed him to spend a day shadowing a surgeon. It was a big moment and his determination to pursue the career was only bolstered by his experiences coordinating health events, where he saw doctors volunteering their time to help. He still has an open mind about what field of medicine he may pursue, but says, “Personally, I am looking at internal medicine.”
Students like Lamanilao are building a bright future for Memphis. It’s a future focused not just on personal accolades and success, but also on service to the city and ensuring everyone has what they need. Thank you, Gene for the work and energy you put into our city!