The Portage County Teen Board has announced the Teens of the Month for October and November.
For October, the selected teens are Lara Ketonen of Aurora and Isaac Stokes of Kent. Chosen for November are Katie Synnestvedt and Caleb Gula, both of Mantua.
Lara Ketonen is a senior at Aurora High School with a 4.0 (unweighted) grade point average. She has been a member of the National Honor Society in her junior and senior years and is the leader of two committees.
She has been a member of the high school swimming team all four years of high school and served as team captain. Lara has been on a swimming club team from 10th through 12th grades and is a national team member.
She is a member of Partio (Finland’s Scouts) and a group leader at a Finnish Lutheran Confirmation Camp.
Lara earned six sports varsity letters including three for swimming, and one each for cross country, track and diving.
She received recognition of state excellence in the 2017 Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition and was a 2017 National Finalist in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad.
Lara’s hobbies include drawing, painting and photography, knitting, crocheting and other crafts and hiking. Her work experience includes raspberry picking in Finland every summer, tutoring AP Biology and dog walking.
In the future, Lara plans to go to college (her top choices are MIT and Johns Hopkins) to major in biomedical engineering and continue her education in medical school, hoping to become an orthopedic surgeon.
She also would like to swim for the varsity team in college and even swim for the Finnish national team.
Isaac Stokes is a senior at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent with a 4.0 grade point average.
In all four years of high school, he has been involved with soccer, orchestra and Key Club. He served as team captain of the soccer team in 2017, was concertmaster of the orchestra and served as vice president and president with Key Club.
His community participation includes Habitat for Humanity, Adopt a Family (at Christmas) and volunteering with Headstart.
Isaac’s list of recognitions includes receiving the Harvard Book Award, being recognized as a commended student with the National Merit Scholarship and being a finalist of the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition at Carnegie Hall.
Among his hobbies are playing piano, soccer and tennis. After high school, he plans to study medicinal practices in college to become a valuable member of the medical community and to continue piano and soccer in his free time.
Katie Synnestvedt is a senior at James A. Garfield High School with a 3.8 grade point average. She has been a member of the varsity softball team all four years of high school, serving as captain in 11th and 12th grades.
Katie has been a member of Student Council in 10th and 11th grades and served as class president in 12th grade. She also is president of the National Honor Society in her senior year.
In the community, Katie has volunteered at the People Tree for 10 years and at Project Moore for two years.
Her recognitions include a three-year letter in academics, a three-year letter in softball (freshman and sophomore Portage Trail Conference Honorable Mention and junior First Team All PTCs) and a two-year letter in soccer (Second Team All PTCs).
Softball is Katie’s main sport, although she also likes to bake and hang out with friends. Her work experience includes baby-sitting, working at Cal’s and serving as a lunch helper her junior and senior years.
Her future plans are to attend Kent State University to continue her academic and softball career. She plans to major in hospitality management, which is based on organizing and managing businesses.
Caleb Gula is a senior at Crestwood High School with a 3.6 grade point average. A member of the National Honor Society in his junior and senior years, Caleb served as senior patrol leader in the Boy Scouts in 10th grade and as a role model as a senior soccer player in 12th grade.
In his community, Caleb has done a lot of volunteering through the Boy Scouts and has participated in community leaf raking and a community cleanup through soccer.
His recognitions include attaining the rank of Eagle, the highest in Boy Scouts. He was awarded First Team All PTC with the most goals on his soccer team.
In his free time, Caleb enjoys glass blowing, backpacking and playing soccer. He worked at Frost Glass as a hot glass blower for more than a year until soccer season started.
In the future, Caleb plans to go to college and get a degree in Renewable Energy Engineering. Further down the line, he would like to start a solar energy company that makes it easier for the average family to afford whole house solar systems.
He also plans to travel a lot and learn as many skills as possible. He also wants to help build his family’s nonprofit company called "Hearts of Patriots," which focuses on the relief of family members of veterans with PTSD.