By Emma Hughes and Nicholas Wynn
On April 28, McNick held the annual Academic Signing in the library at 7 a.m. At the Academic Signing, the top ten students of the senior class commit the colleges the plan to attend the following school year. The Valedictorian and Salutatorian of this year’s senior class are Katie McHugh and Lauren Alvey, respectively, who both committed to the University of Notre Dame. The remaining top ten are Carly Cullion, Anna Enders, Jacob Fries, Abby Hay, Molly Jorden, Sean Kapp, Jared Taylor, and Zach Woodke.
Katie McHugh – Valedictorian
McHugh will major in computer science at the University of Notre Dame on a merit scholarship. “It just seems like the best fit for me,” she said. “When I visited and then when I went back for the early admitted students event for the college of engineering, I loved the campus, the atmosphere, the people the professors, and all the opportunities that are available there,” she said. All four years at McNick, McHugh has earned straight A’s, been the business, math, and Latin student of the year, has never had to take a final exam, and has achieved dean’s list every quarter. “McNick has given me the opportunity to challenge myself inside and outside of the classroom,” she said. When it comes to things she will miss most, McHugh will remember playing basketball, lacrosse, being part of the academic team, and her teachers and friends.
Lauren Alvey – Salutatorian
Alvey plans to major in biology at the University of Notre Dame. “As soon as I visited, I knew that’s where I wanted to go. The financial aid confirmed it,” Alvey said. When looking back at her experience at McNick, she feels like she has learned how to work hard when she needs to and manage her activities. “I think that I’ll remember the friends I made and the memories I have with them,” she said. Looking forward to college, she is excited for doing research and studying abroad, though she does not know where in the world she will go to yet. “I’m going to miss McNick, but it prepared me well for the future,” she said.
Cullion will be majoring in biology at The Ohio State University where she earned a $5,000 Maximus scholarship per year. “I chose to attend OSU because I have always wanted to attend a large school, and when I visited, I just loved the endless opportunities and the great biological science program that I will be a part of,” she said. In college, she is most looking forward to getting started on her path to a career in medicine and going to football games. Cullion will look back at her time at McNick with pride. “McNick has provided me with the most amazing preparation for college through the rigorous classes and also the help provided for college applications,” she said.
Enders will be majoring in health sciences at the University of Cincinnati with an academic scholarship. “I chose UC because it has a good medical school and it is close to home,” she said. She has achieved dean’s list all quarters of high school. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and taking classes I’m interested in the most,” she said. She thinks that her teachers have prepared her for the college workload that is to come.
Fries will be majoring in environmental science at the University of Notre Dame with a scholarship. Notre Dame was his top choice when he applied, and the scholarship confirmed that he was able to attend. He’s most looking forward to being able to meet people from all around the world in college. When he looks back at his time at McNick, Fries will remember all of the friends that he has made here. “I’m really proud of all of the top ten [students] and it’s great because we all supported each other along the way,” he said.
To major in environmental biology, Hay will be attending the University of Dayton with a scholarship to cover approximately half of tuition. “I am looking forward to branching out, meeting new people, and really expanding my mind next year,” Hay said. She believes that McNick has done well preparing her for her college academics. “The most challenging aspect of McNicholas is probably just the workload in general, but also the academic competition I have been faced with. The kids in my grade are extremely intelligent and keeping up can be challenging, but beneficial,” she said. “I have learned a very good work ethic at McNick and have learned how to fight against procrastination. I have also learned good study habits and I feel as though my AP teachers have prepared me for a college class setting.” While Hay said that “being in the top ten is very exciting,” she will most remember “all the great people and teachers of McNick” and the Kairos and Appalachia retreats that have affected her life.
Jorden will be majoring in architecture at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a scholarship. “It was my second visit to Notre Dame that helped me make my final decision,” she said. “The Notre Dame architecture program was one that I just couldn’t pass up…. In Notre Dame’s architecture program, the third year of the five years of study is spent entirely in Rome.” During her years at McNick, Jorden was a part of four National Honor Societies, named student of the year in four different subjects, and achieved Dean’s List every quarter. “McNick helped me learn the importance of a good work ethic and organization in a competitive academic environment,” she said. “The most challenging aspect of McNick for me was balancing all my activities with my academics, and finding time for it all.” Thinking of what she will miss most from McNick, Jorden said, “I think that everybody will… answer of the friends that they made, but that is because it is entirely true. The most special part of McNick is the community of amazing students, faculty, and staff that remain a part of your life.”
At the University of Dayton, Kapp will be majoring in mechanical engineering on the Trustee’s Merit Scholarship, the Leadership in Service Scholarship, and a study abroad scholarship. “The decision of where to go to college was long and multifaceted for me,” Kapp said. “The final factor was that I want to do engineering research, and the University of Dayton does more research and receives more research grants than [most] other Catholic universities in the country” of the same size. In addition to achieving Dean’s List every quarter at McNick, Kapp is an officer of the National Honor Society and a member of Science NHS and Mu Alpha Theta. “McNick has done a lot to prepare me for college and for life. The AP curriculum has introduced me to a fast-paced learning environment, and the teachers are genuinely interested in my learning. Also very important are the lessons I have learned about working with people of various backgrounds, skills, and abilities,” Kapp said. “I always saw academics as a process of learning, rather than a goal-oriented chase for awards. I’m very proud to be one of the top ten, but grades are simply the byproduct of knowledge gained.” Kapp said he will miss the sense of community about McNicholas after graduating. “I think being in this environment of respect and togetherness has been integral to my development,” he added.
Taylor will be majoring in zoology at The Ohio State University with a probable minor in English. He received the Maximus scholarship, a renewable scholarship worth $5,000 each year. “OSU was always my top choice. Both of my sisters attended OSU, so I had been to the campus several times before I toured it last summer, and I knew I really liked it,” he said. Taylor said that the accomplishment he is most proud of at McNick is finishing in the top ten of his class. He said it was challenging, but it has excellently prepared him for college. “McNick has most prepared me for college by helping me develop good study habits and making me a better writer. For the classes I’ll be taking in college, strong writing will definitely be an asset,” Taylor said. “The most challenging aspect of McNick would probably have to be juggling extracurriculars and homework while still trying to hang out with friends and have fun on the weekends.” He said that his friends are what he will remember most from McNick. “I’ll remember the friendships I made at McNick and the teachers I’ve had. Some of my teachers… have helped influence my choice in zoology as a major, and my friends have shaped the person I am today, so I think I’ll remember them because of that.”
Woodke committed to The Ohio State University where he will be majoring in real estate business with a minor in architecture. He received the Maximus Scholarship, a renewable scholarship worth $5,000 per year. “I have been a Buckeye fan for most of my life…so [Ohio State] was familiar and an easy school to be enthusiastic about,” Woodke said. “I knew that I would be getting a very high quality education. Ultimately, though, it came down to the feeling of the campus and the city of Columbus. I felt at home when visiting and felt it was the right place for me…. I am looking forward to exploring all of the opportunities that are out there in the world, and beginning to focus my studies and interests on what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Woodke said that he felt McNick has prepared him well for his years at OSU. “I definitely feel that [McNick’s] academics were challenging, pushing me to study harder and strive to do my best,” he said. “I will always remember the sense of community and family. Everyone here has so many unique qualities, yet we all come together to form one McNick family, and I think I’m just going to miss the accepting, caring environment and the relationships I have built these past four years,” he added. “I am just grateful to have been able to attend a school such as McNick, where all of the faculty, staff, and students are there for you and truly care about you as a person. I am so thankful for all of the people who have helped me achieve what I have achieved, and have shown me support in my successes, as well as my failures.”