Emily Hutlock thought she wanted to study medicine, but after a change of heart will pursue an English degree from Oberlin College.
A self-described “tenacious girl,” she said teacher Renee Opel helped stoke her lifelong love of writing and literature. “She said the world would be remiss if I didn’t do this,” Hutlock said. “I’ve been very happy ever since.”
Nathan Frankart, inspired by science teachers such as Mitch Gillam and Gary Sooy, has chosen the emerging field of corrosion engineering for a career and plans to attend the University of Akron.
He’s fascinated by the science that explains why pipes and metals deteriorate. Frankart said corrosion science is being applied in the auto and oil industries and he can see himself working one day on pipelines or rigs.
These are just two of the 330 seniors with big dreams who are ready to graduate from Amherst Steele High School.
Commencement exercises will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 at the Cleveland State University Wolstein Center.
Doors open at 2 p.m., which is when graduates are expected to arrive. No tickets are required for the ceremony, though parents must have parking permits to use the Wolstein Center garage.
The Class of 2017 has earned $2.7 million in scholarships as of Friday. That number will continue to grow over the next couple of weeks and may top $3 million, said principal Michael May.
At the Steele senior awards banquet on May 16, the Amherst Schools Educational Foundation and private donors awarded more than $71,000 in scholarships.
Perhaps the biggest winner of the evening was Brianna Sekerak, who earned $139,800 from the Army ROTC. She will attend the University of Pittsburgh to study physical therapy.
The class is a diverse group that shares a common trait — this year’s seniors are highly engaged.
Take Hutlock and Frankart, for example. They are both members of the National Honor Society and MLS Theatre Company (Hutlock is the president of the latter). Frankart served as captain of this year’s academic team and a marching band squad leader.
They’re taking slightly different approaches to graduation.
Frankart said he’s excited for the chance to reinvent himself at college. Where many kids are scared of leaving the familiar comfort of high school, he embraces the challenge.
“I look forward to the future rather than fearing,” he said.
Hutlock said saying goodbye to Steele will be bittersweet. While looking forward to the next chapter, she said 2016-2017 was her favorite year of high school and she grew to deeply love her classes, teachers, and fellow students.
“It’s going to be sad to leave all that behind, but I’m definitely excited to move on,” she said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
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