Eleni Christofides worked hard at Dublin Coffman High School, earning an International Baccalaureate degree and acting as salutatorian at the May 31 graduation ceremony.

Eleni Christofides worked hard at Dublin Coffman High School, earning an International Baccalaureate degree and acting as salutatorian at the May 31 graduation ceremony.

When the Dublin teen enters Ohio State University this fall, things won't get any easier.

Christofides will have her college tuition paid for, but will work hard as an Eminence Fellow and Stamps Leadership Scholar.

The Coffman grad found out about the programs from older friends and soon fell in love with the idea of getting involved in a service project and leadership opportunities.

"It was very selective," she said, of the process that included an application and interview.

But her experiences at Coffman helped prepare Christofides for what's coming.

"I feel like IB was a struggle often, but I feel like it really did prepare us well academically, but also put importance on getting together and doing things for the community," she said.

With plans to major in neuroscience, Christofides is very excited about what the programs at OSU will have to offer, such as "the connections I'll have to faculty," she said.

"I'll be able to work with other students passionate about things. It will make all the difference in further education.

"The whole program wants to foster relationships between like-minded students.

"There are a lot of students and staff invested in the program."

Christofides is no stranger to creating relationships.

As part of the IB diploma program's service aspect, Christofides visited first-graders at Wright Elementary School weekly.

She eventually came up with a science program for students.

"We met twice a month since January with 25 kids," she said.

"We would have a presentation with videos or a discussion and then have experiments or a hand-on thing to apply what they had learned."

Christofides' program, Science Sleuths, drew 25 to 30 students and offered instruction to fifth-graders who took a state science test, said Lucas Bauer, an instructional support specialist at Wright who worked with Christofides on the program.

"Eleni did a wonderful job setting learning expectations for the students that had them expressing their thoughts verbally and in writing," Bauer said.

"Just hearing the students talk with one another about their observations or experiments and then applying that in the classroom will have positive benefits for themselves, as well as their peers."

Because Christofides will stay in the area, she is hoping to continue Science Sleuths this fall and maybe even recruit a few fellow Eminence Scholars to help out.

"Eleni was so organized and focused when she was here and (she), as well as her other volunteers, set a great example for our young students," Bauer said.

Even if Science Sleuths doesn't continue this fall, Christofides gave students a great parting gift.

"I thought it would be awesome to take them on a field trip," Christofides said, adding that after some thought she realized it would be too expensive.

A $500 scholarship Christofides got through the Community Champion Awards, however, gave her hope that it could happen.

"I talked to the (Dublin) Chamber of Commerce and signed the scholarship over the Mr. Bauer," Christofides said.

"We weren't able to do a field trip, but we were able to buy each of the kids a COSI tickets and exhibit pass. ... It was really, really exciting presenting the tickets to them at the last meeting.

"In a time when people can be so selfish, this graduating senior asked to donate money that she worked hard for, to our students," Bauer said.

"It was such a selfless and moving gesture and the (Daniel Wright Elementary) family wants to thank Eleni and her volunteers for making a positive impact for the students."