Sam Caputo is only 18, but he already has spent years laying the groundwork for success.
First, the Collinsville High School senior joined Student Council as a freshman.
“I really wanted to be a leader, and Student Council focuses a lot on leadership skills,” said Sam, who now serves as president.
“We go to a lot of workshops and conferences and field trips. I think all those skills will help me with college, my career and my future.”
Sam also got involved in CHS clubs, everything from the Multicultural Kahoks to National Honor Society, Latin Club to Future Business Leaders of America. He played baseball his first three years.
Then Sam became the only Illinois resident to sit on the 14-member Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Student Board of Directors.
“I thought it would look good on my resume,” he said.
At one time, Sam was considering business or economics as a college major.
“Now I’m leaning more toward chemistry, maybe chemical engineering,” he said. “I’m not sure. I haven’t looked too hard into it yet.”
Sam is the son of Diane and Dave Caputo, of Collinsville. He has a twin brother, Alex, also a senior at CHS, and a 20-year-old brother, Nick, at University of Missouri in Columbia.
Sam has narrowed down his college picks to Mizzou and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Straight A’s are a feather in his cap, but he isn’t all work and no play.
“I do a lot of recreational sports,” he said. “I like golf and basketball and football, and just hanging out with friends. We go to the mall or whatever.”
Sam also attends CHS sports games as a representative of the Kahoks Crazy Club.
“We’re leaders of the fan sections,” he said. “We start chants and get all of the fans really rowdy and excited for the game.”
Last fall, Sam was crowned homecoming king.
“That was a lot of fun,” he said.
At CHS, Student Council members aren’t elected by the student body. It’s a club they simply join. Members elect officers, and Sam became president in May.
“We do homecoming week — the dance, the dress-up days and the talent show,” he said. “We also help out with charities, like at Christmastime we fund-raise for 500 gifts. We go to a school where the kids don’t get many Christmas gifts, and we dress up like elves and Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and distribute the gifts.”
Sam doesn’t feel completely comfortable speaking for his generation, but he feels safe in concluding that technology is a main focus.
He notes many teenagers spend the better part of their days talking, texting and surfing the Internet on smartphones.
Others are hooked on video games, such as Xbox and PlayStation.
“Social media is a huge thing right now,” Sam said. “Like Twitter. If you want to know anything about anything happening in your town, you just need to check Twitter, and that will tell you.”