Torn knee ligaments ended Logan Simmons’ athletic career with the Dukes but broadened her view of what the future could hold.
With a 4.59 grade point average, she has secured the Class of 2017’s top honor as valedictorian at Wellington High School. She and other top scholars sat down May 9 to talk with us about post-graduation plans.
Simmons will attend the University of Toledo to major in biomedical engineering.
“I suffered a sports-related injury that’s pretty much ended my athletic career,” she said. “That motivated me to find new things I might want to do with my future. I wanted to go into the medical field but not necessarily become a doctor. I’d love to focus on prosthetics and help other people who’ve suffered serious injuries. I’ve also always thought it’d be super cool to do something with the Special Olympics.”
Ian Gifford’s 4.53 GPA has earned him the salutatorian nod. Like Simmons, he will head to the University of Toledo in the fall but will study mechanical engineering.
“I want to go into designing vehicles or even planes or something similar,” he said. “I’ve been pretty good at math my entire life and have always been interested in physics. With physics, I just like thinking about how everything in the world fits together.”
Jacob Storrow came up next in the running with a 4.39 GPA. He will study mechanical engineering at the University of Akron.
“Here in Wellington, I’ve always enjoyed learning about physics and math. It’s just a good feeling to solve an equation or think how physics applies to your everyday life. I’m not really sure what I want to do for a career yet but working on cars, planes, and really understanding how they work has always drawn my interest. I’ve seen stories about ‘glass bottom’ jets and that really interests me.”
Glass bottom jets project real-time images from the exterior of the plane onto the interior floor, which appears translucent.
Jared Sartori registered a 4.23 GPA and is a prospective chemical engineer. He will attend Walsh University in North Canton.
“I’ve always loved chemistry and engineering so I just put the two together,” he said. “I’m not really sure on a career yet either, not even a rough idea. With chemical engineering, they’re the ones taking what the chemists do and applying it to products.”
Abby Brown finished with a 4.39 GPA but was unable to attend the meeting and spoke with us later by phone. She plans to continue attending Lorain County Community College this fall where she’s just 17 credits shy of an associate of arts degree.
“I’ll finish that off and I’m not exactly sure what comes next,” she said. “My original plan was to take next year off and just work, but once I found out I was so close to the degree I wanted to get it done. A career I’d want could be something arts or science related, but I know that’s very broad. I do a lot of theater and acting, so maybe something in that field. I’ve done theater since seventh grade and have been in most of the high school’s productions.”
The valedictorian shared some advice for future Dukes and ways she wants to help change society.
“I want there to be more women engineers,” said Simmons. “Also, I want health care to be affordable. Just work hard early on because it always pays off. Join clubs. Be active. Managing time is the biggest thing. Planning even the smallest thing out ahead of time and remaining organized is so, so important.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.