Seniors earn $3.2 million in scholarship offers
Forty-six seniors, including 16 "lifers," will leave their high school days behind when they celebrate their graduation from the Wellington School.
The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. Friday, June 7, in the school gymnasium, 3650 Reed Road.
Speakers include senior Iakovos Anastasakis and artist and Wellington parent Ann Hamilton, who is the mother of graduating senior Emmett Mercil.
"Our tradition is to invite faculty, administration and board members to present diplomas to their graduating children," said Carolyn Haskett, director of marketing.
She said Head of School Rob Brisk will present a diploma to his eldest son, Billy Brisk; Lower School Learning Guide Jaime Kletzly will present a diploma to her daughter, Coleen Kletzly; and board member Dawn Robinson will present a diploma to Jonathan Robinson.
She said the seniors collectively earned $3.2 million worth of scholarship offers and all will attend colleges of their choice.
The 16 "lifers" are students who have attended Wellington School since kindergarten.
They are: Anastasakis, Alexandria Armeni, Leah Buckingham, Abby Conger, Helen Fite, Laura Gamboa, Will Gross, Quinten Henricks, Tyler Michaels, Annie Miller, Meleah Moore, Alex Schilling, Samantha Shepherd, Jeremy Smith, Jonathan Taylor and Sam Teller.
Five seniors were honored as All Stars May 3, along with seniors from several other area high schools, at a banquet sponsored by Northwest Counseling Services.
They were Anastasakis, Fite, Kletzly, Erin O'Neil and Jordan Tunnell.
The students are chosen for their academic success, community service and extracurricular involvement, Haskett said.
O'Neil, an Upper Arlington resident, said her community service included running an annual book drive for inner city children who attend Columbus City Schools.
The book drives have resulted in 11,000 books given to inner city students.
"I started organizing book drives in fourth grade at my elementary school," O'Neil said. "I had more book drives at the schools I attended, then after I came to Wellington, we had annual book drives, with Half-Price Books contributing books, along with family and the community."
She said reading is important for every child.
"Ever since I was little, reading has been an escape," she said. "Not only is it educational, but it is a really great pastime that strengthens the imagination and I think a lot of kids can benefit from that."
O'Neil will attend Butler University in the fall and plans to work toward a major in marketing and a minor in international business.
"My dream career would be doing some kind of brand management or a profession that would allow me to travel the world," she said.
Head of Upper School Jeff Terwin said this year's seniors were very active in Campus Club and in 4A (African American Awareness Association).
He said the 4A group organized fundraisers to support the "scholar dollar" program at Beatty Elementary School in Columbus.
"It was great to see the 4A students raise funds, purchase and wrap gifts and then set up a store at Beatty where students spend scholar dollars they have earned," he said. "It is one of the more powerful programs I have seen."
He said the senior class students were good advocates.
"They brought whole programs to the school and the community," he said.
He said Fite attended a summer leadership program that impressed her so much she set up a program for the Upper School and arranged for parents to hear Chris Bowers, an inspirational speaker.
Terwin said Armeni brought an inspirational TEDx program to Wellington as part of her senior project.
"These students all seem to be active in community service, but they are pretty quiet about it -- they are not a group who looks for a lot of accolades. They just do these things because they believe they are the right things to do," he said.
He said two other seniors, Schilling and Tunnell, started an ultimate Frisbee club and were active in helping to create the robotics program at Wellington.
"So many of these seniors have been advocating to make the school and the community better," he said.