• Dr. Herpy

2018 Top 16 Seniors and Their Favorite Educators

April 17, 2018

Related: Photo Gallery

Alyssa Kassouf

Throughout the last few years, as I have taken on more and more responsibility, I have learned the true relevance of the phrase “Fake it until you make it”. The first incidence of this comes with trying to garner donations for our blood drive. My first year, I went back to Paninis five times to ask for a pizza donation, each time pretending that I was too daft to have understood the polite form of “no” the manager told me. I ended up getting a whole half sheet of pizza out of the tired employee. The next year he recognized me and promised me TWO half sheets on my first visit.

The second incident of this comes with my “employment” at a laboratory in the Cleveland Clinic. The clinic is very picky about which doors they let which employees through with their ID badges, and my status as “barely allowed to be here” got me access to one of the three doors I needed to be able to reach my lab. So every day I go to the clinic, I walk up to the doors I know I don’t have access to, swipe my card, make a dramatic scene about dusting the card off on my pants, glaring at the monitor, and trying again. By the time I have finished with this show, normally another actual employee with actual access has walked up to the door. He she then shakes his or her head at me sympathetically and swipes his/her own card.

Alyssa plans on attending Johns Hopkins University with a major in cellular and molecular research. Ten years from now, she hopes to be employed by a clinical-trial motivated research laboratory.

Alyssa Kassouf - Mr. KowalskiAlyssa Kassouf – Mr. Kowalski

In the beginning portion of Mr. Kowalski’s English class every day, he would read a book out loud to the class. After reading one day, a discussion followed about achieving personal happiness. Then, in order to transition into a fantastically entertaining grammar lesson, Mr. Kowalski said, “You know what makes me happy? Grammar!” Since I was a 7th grade brat, I responded by stating “That was a terrible segue” out loud for the whole class to hear. Thankfully, Mr. Kowalski took this in stride and laughed. This particular incident speaks to the magnitude in which Mr. Kowalski created an open, free-thinking classroom environment, where all minds were equal. His 7th grade English class introduced his students to the idea that their thoughts were valid to higher-thinking discussion, that their thoughts could not be dismissed merely because of their age or academic progress. I believe this is crucial to student thought development, both personally and intellectually.

Pedro Michels

My vision on how to have a successful life? Study, get good grades, and most importantly build good relationships, while not forgetting to have fun in the process. Maybe even throw a party for 70+ people while your parents are in the other side of the Atlantic ocean. Senior year was probably one of the best and most stressful times of my life so far, but I probably learned more practical knowledge this year than ever before. I learned that it is not simply my academics, my GPA, or my test scores that determine whether I will be happy or successful today or in the future. A lot of that lies on being able to build relationships and expand my social perspective by talking to individuals I never previously considered talking to. In expanding my influence I was able to build upon myself and understand why everyone acts a certain way; and in some cases, raise even more questions. If you haven’t figured out yet: Yes, I did throw a party this year, and it was way more insightful than I expected.

Pedro plans on attending either UCLA or Northwestern to study economics or engineering. Ten years from now, Pedro intends to be working on becoming the next president of Brazil.

Mr. Tripi - Pedro MichelsPedro Michels – Mr. Tripi

I’m probably not the student this teacher has seen the most, and I have not taken as many classes with him as I wish I had; however, more than any teacher, Mr. Tripi showed me how much I don’t know. Any question I asked, whether during or after class, was responded with an answer built with an unmatched perspective. Most importantly Mr. Tripi taught me how to be business minded, a skill that applies to much more than just business. So, When I become the next Warren Buffett let it be known that it was because this man taught me how to give a firm handshake and speak like I know what I’m talking about.

Maria Weil

I am a lead elf. My favorite snacks are Ho Ho’s, my favorite lunch is a steamy, hot bowl of “elfabet” soup, and my favorite color is red. If you see me in public and I look too tall to be an elf, that is because when I come to the real world I grow! Over the past six years I have been fortunate enough to join Santa on his trips to visit children who are terminally ill or have severe special needs to bring them and their families Christmas cheer. I originally decided to pursue elfing to volunteer in my community, but it has become a huge part of who I am. By putting on a silly elf outfit, I have come to the conclusion that the best version of myself can be achieved with a stethoscope and a ridiculous pin that says “I love my Nurse Practitioner”.

Maria plans to attend Penn State University to study nursing. She intends to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. Ten years from now, Maria hopes to be working in a hospital helping people one patient at a time.

Maria Weil - Mrs. WirthweinMaria Weil – Mrs. Wirthwein

There are not enough words that can be said to describe how hard I have worked over these past four years. School has not been easy for me, I was not blessed with a brilliant mind, but instead a hard-working, determined attitude. When I entered High School I never thought I would be smart enough to graduate with all A’s much less third in my class, until Mrs.Wirthwein awarded me with the Academic Award for AP European History because of the hard work ethic that she saw in me. This action made me realize that I was good enough, smart enough, determined enough to reach an almost impossible goal I set for myself. So, thank you with immense gratitude, Mrs. Wirthwein for seeing my true potential and giving me the strength I needed to get me here today.

Elise Markley

During spring break of tenth grade, the French Club journeyed to Martinique, where we immersed ourselves in the culture and indulged in many foreign dishes, which I enjoyed because, as anyone who knows me understands, I am not a picky eater and am always a member of the “Clean Plate Club.” On our way home, we encountered flight delays and consequently were stuck in Canada, so we were all quite “hangry”. Most of us ordered Subway footlong sandwiches, leaving everyone full. I, however, finished one feeling like I barely ate anything. Expecting to see me return with a six inch sandwich, my friends watched me unwrap yet another footlong and finish it without trouble. Amazed, everyone jokingly cheered me on, surrounding me with their phones playing the “Final Countdown”. As much as I enjoyed the exotic food from Martinique, I guess you could say I’ll always stick to my American roots and you should never judge a girl’s eating capacity by her size! Now, I’ll forever be known as the one who ate two footlong sandwiches in one sitting.

Elise plans on attending Bellarmine University where she will major in nursing and play soccer. Ten years from now, Elise sees herself working in a specialized field of nursing while beginning to settle down and start a family.

Mrs. Wahl - Elise Markley Elise Markley – Mrs. Wahl

I’ll never forget when our class noticed Mrs. Wahl was wearing two different shoes for the entire school day. From this moment on, I realized that one of the reasons I loved Mrs. Wahl so much as a teacher was that she was relatable to her students and had an easygoing nature. Although she can be relaxed, she never failed to push us, constantly drilling French grammar rules into our heads and becoming ecstatic when the entire class finally understood. One of her main mantras was that mistakes are okay; in fact, she’d rather see us make mistakes we can learn from than us not answer questions at all due to fear of an incorrect response. She is so selfless and will always go out of her way to help every one of her students reach their goals, no matter what they may be. Thank you Mrs. Wahl!

Jacqueline Jeromin

It was the last art project of the semester we were told, and it would be an interesting one. We could see winter break fast approaching, although it would be a super short one this year. Mr. Malkus assigned a triptych, which means this was not one project; it was three projects in a trench coat, fedora, and sunglasses pretending to be one. Naturally, I leaned towards hands because I could do them swiftly, but Mr. Malkus wanted us to do something outside of our comfort zone. I, of course, decided to do something that I viewed as amusing, although others might disagree. If I could not do hands, I would draw feet behaving and performing the function of hands. Even though I drew something unfamiliar, I still had an enjoyable time creating.

Jackie plans on attending Northwestern University, where she will major in Mathematics and possibly Anthropology with a minor in Russian. Ten years from now Jackie hopes to be working in a field that she learned about and learned to love in college.

Mrs. Garrett - Jacqueline JerominJacqueline Jeromin – Mrs. Garrett

Mrs. Garrett is truly an amazing woman. I’ve seen few teachers who are so on top of everything. From the little things, like decorating her weekly calendar to the big things, like ensuring that Pi Day is properly celebrated with the skit, song, and of course, pie. Organization and planning are her norm, ready for any situation from snow days to minor adjustments to the schedule. I’ve seen Mrs. Garrett help students during lunch in addition to before and after school. Never complaining, always willing to lend a hand. Mrs. Garrett is truly an exceptional woman, possessing all the qualities of a great teacher.

Andrew Radis

Like everyone else in the top sixteen, I’m not used to failing tests. In fact, the only test I have truly failed during high school was my drivers test. Now there are actually a decent amount of people who fail the drivers test on their first time around, but I have yet to hear of someone who failed in such spectacular fashion as I did. I had basically aced the test and all I had to do was get back to the DMV to get my license, but as I was driving back, I managed to blow straight through a red light, which is grounds for automatic failure. It was the equivalent of getting a perfect score on a test, but failing because you forgot to put your name on it. It was so embarrassing that even my parents laughed at me when I wanted them to comfort me. I eventually got over it (two years later) and learned two valuable lessons: mistakes are an aspect of life and always keep your eyes on the light.

Andrew plans on attending Boston College in the fall. He is currently undecided on his major but is interested in Economics, Finance, or Accounting. In ten years time, Andrew has no idea what he will be doing, but may be pursuing a law degree.

Andrew Radis - Mr. KepreosAndrew Radis – Mr. Kepreos

Accounting, by all means, should be the most boring, mundane class offered at Kenston, but Mr. Kepreos doesn’t just make his classes tolerable, he makes them enjoyable. His passion not only for business, but for his students is inspiring, as he’s always trying to get the best out of his students and get them to truly realize their potential. He constantly references the intensity level in the classroom and loves when everyone is working hard. I have found myself giving more effort in other classes just because Mr. Kepreos pushed me hard in his classes. It isn’t just all work all the time, however, as he will often go off on fun tangents, joke around at the front of the class, or just converse with students to help break up assignments. Even if I never have to use anything I learned from his classes, I will always remember Mr. Kepreos and what he did for my work ethic.

Austin Kassouf

“BAM” the noise my heart made hitting the floor after the heap of metal I was trying to craft slammed against the concrete. The metal beam, as well as my heart, was sprawled on the ground covered with motor oil and dirt. After an hour of meticulously combing through every connection on the structure, I eventually noticed the support brace I had forgotten resting against the wall, exactly where I had left it. Interning at Triad Civil Engineering I realized the immense work required to carry out the design process. Triad showed me the vital connection between rendering a design and the components necessary to bring that design to life. This failure, and the many after it, opened my eyes to the gap between theoretical physics and mathematical principles behind them, to the tangible applications of these principals. In my future I hope to take this lesson and expound upon it in order to discover technological innovations to advance our current understanding of mechanics and physics.

Austin plans on attending the University of Michigan where he will major in either Mechanical or Civil Engineering. Ten years from now, he hopes to be working at an innovative corporation designing the future systems and infrastructure that has yet to be developed.

Sally Burton - Austin Kassouf Austin Kassouf – Sally Burton

Throughout late elementary school and early middle school I was not the most academically focused individual. That changed when I came to seventh grade science class with Ms. Burton. The way that Ms. Burton was able to engage the class into the material was unlike any teacher I had before. I found myself truly interested in what we were studying.

It was not just the way she presented the information, but Ms. Burton’s continued effort over the course of the entire school year to help transform me into the student I am today. Ms. Burton encouraged me to join, and later mentored me throughout middle school speech and debate which built the foundation for why I am able to stand up here and talk in front of everyone today.

Chloe Boutton

The vibrant smile on her face said it all. After countless instructors told Margaret she would never be able to swim the butterfly stroke, her confidence shriveled. However, after a few determined lessons with me, Margaret mastered the seemingly impossible. This pivotal moment, seeing the glow of happiness on both Margaret’s and her mom’s face, was a testament to my commitment to serve special needs children. My passion for helping special needs students started when I joined the Breathe ministry at Holy Angels Church. Mrs. Sunderhaft, the leader of the program, demonstrated her patience and kindness with all of the special needs attendees. I have to say, her devotion for serving others definitely rubbed off on me. Joining the Breathe team has sparked a continuing mission in my heart to always help and care for the special needs of my community.

Chloe plans on attending Duquesne University in the Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program. Ten years from now, Chloe sees herself confidently working as a physician’s assistant and enthusiastically helping others. She also hopes to have a family and three kids.

Chloe Boutton - Mrs. SunderhaftChloe Boutton – Mrs. Sunderhaft

I first met Mrs. Sunderhaft when I was 12. She graciously welcomed me on the core leadership team for Breathe at Holy Angels Church. Through this program, Mrs. Sunderhaft inspired me to be a leader and furthered my passion for helping those with special needs. It is impossible to recognize all that you do, but please know I appreciate your compassion and commitment to serving others. Mrs. Sunderhaft, I thank you for your patience shown towards others, your kind heart, and your willingness to place others in front of yourself. Your long list of attributes is what can make a difference in the world today and what I will continue to pursue in my life.

Dayle Foster

This past summer I was fortunate enough to participate in the Future Agents in Training program at Cleveland’s FBI Office. Through this program I was able to engage in a mock bombing case held at FirstEnergy Stadium where 50 students from the surrounding Cleveland area worked together to solve the case. The following day I presented our case to Federal Judge Thomas Parker in his courtroom. In the end, we obtained the arrest warrants for our two ‘suspects.’ Although winning was very special, my favorite part of this experience was hearing six words from United States Attorney Paul Flannery that still makes me smile to this day, “You saved the day, Agent Foster.” As I reflect on that day, I realize how influential that moment was in solidifying my love for justice. Although I learned much, stepping out of my comfort zone was terrifying, but I will look back on the experience years from now, hopefully, as Federal Judge Foster.

Dayle plans on attending college in the fall either at the University of Michigan or the University of Virginia where she plans to study political science and criminology. Ten years from now, Dayle hopes to be serving as a JAG (Judge Advocate General Corps) in the United States Air Force.

Dayle Foster - Mr. RayDayle Foster – Mr. Ray

I had the pleasure of having Mr. Ray as my teacher for three years, and during this time, I have grown dramatically as a student. Not only has his instruction improved my writing and introduced me to my favorite works of literature, Mr. Ray, more than any other teacher, has made me enjoy coming to class. His outrageous childhood stories about his pet raccoon among other stories of his college adventures continues to make me laugh three years after first hearing them. His positive and uplifting attitude in class genuinely inspired me to be a happier person. I look forward to utilizing the knowledge he has instilled in me in college, although I will dearly miss his infectious personality that truly brightened my time at Kenston.

Abigail Vossler

I never imagined I would feel a bond with fruit flies, until I was staring at them through a small plastic vial waiting for them to reproduce so I could count and sort them. It was our fly genetics project in AP Biology. We spent months crossing breeds and laughing hysterically while setting more than a few flies free in the classroom. When it was my turn, I clutched my vial of flies proudly to take home to set free, and excitedly showed my disgusted friends as I tried to explain to them the difference between scarlet and wild-type eyes. That semester, I decided that I was going to major in biology in college. Finding your niche is about taking the little things you find so interesting, that bore everyone else, and pursuing them. I am fortunate to have found that and know that I will have a passion for my future studies.

Abi plans on attending the University of Cincinnati to major in biology and biomedical studies. Ten years from now, Abi hopes to be finished with her education and to have a successful career.

Abigail Vossler - Mrs. EvertsAbigail Vossler – Mrs. Everts

I never knew exactly what my favorite subject was until I took AP Biology with Mrs. Everts. Whether it was being thigh deep in a river catching nothing but minnows or tediously counting hundreds of fruit flies, she always allowed us to be independent and have hands-on learning. She challenged us and if we complained, which we did, she would say her signature phrase, “just wait ‘till college,” and although we didn’t want to admit it, we knew she was right and this was preparing us for what comes next. Mrs. Everts was always willing to help with whatever we needed, talked to us about college and our futures, and most of all, took the time to get to know each and every one of us as people.

Corenna Maynard

Walking with my family into my favorite restaurant (Benihana), while wearing my new clothes that we purchased earlier that day, I never would have imagined the experience I’d encounter at the end of the meal would change me forever. We were one of the last groups in the restaurant and for some reason, the bus boy started talking with us. He told us that at the age of 25, he finally had enough money to buy himself his first coat. As we drove home, I found myself staring out the window with a tear falling down my cheek. My mom asked me why I was crying. I said, “after everything I have bought today, I want to give everything back.” I was enlightened by that man and the experience motivated me to want to “give back” to society with products that will improve lives across all socioeconomic classes.

Corenna plans on attending the University of Mount Union to study engineering. Ten years from now, Corenna hopes to have graduated with at least a Bachelor’s degree and to be working alongside other engineers to help improve the quality of life for others.

Corenna Maynard - Mr. HinkleCorenna Maynard – Mr. Hinkle

I don’t refer to him as Mr. Hinkle because I know him best as “Coach”. One of the most influential moments between us occurred at a basketball practice my freshman year. He paused our drill because he was upset that no one was leading us on the court. “Typically, my point guard is my leader and the voice for me on the court,” he said. While he didn’t call me out, his comments were directed my way, telling me he knows I have the potential to be a leader. I owe my confidence and hard-working attitude to him and thank him for believing in me.

Dillon Beal

Getting a driver’s license is a step towards freedom and adulthood, so why wouldn’t every kid be happy once he or she passes the test? After passing my exam, I was actually quite irritated. I passed on my first try, had a car to drive, and got my license before all of my friends, so what could have made me so upset? All my anger stemmed from my not perfect score on the test. My instructor took points off for a right turn being too wide and me not looking over my shoulder when changing lanes. After getting back into the car to go home, my mom knew right away that I was upset because I did not do as well as I hoped to, even though I still got my license. My driving test opened my eyes to how much of a perfectionist I strive to be, but it also helped me realize that it does not matter how I get to where I’m going, as long as I arrive there.

Dillion plans on attending college in the fall and is deciding between Georgia Tech, Rochester Institute of Technology, Case Western, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Rensselear Polytechnic Institute to study Astrophysics and Mathematics. Ten years from now, Dillon hopes to be working at NASA.

Mr. Koltas - Dillon BealDillon Beal – Mr. Koltas

I was in denial about the fact that I love math, until I met Mr. Koltas. He was the one who was able to really captivate me for the first time in a classroom. The passion he taught with made me excited to learn and solve math problems. Prior to Mr. Koltas’ class, math was just a bunch of equations and numbers, and I only enjoyed it because I was good at it. As the semester went on, he pushed me to discover my passion in a variety of ways other than lectures. Mr. Koltas was able to display the fun and beautiful side of math that no teacher had shown me before. Because of Mr. Koltas, I plan on going into a field filled with intense mathematics.

Erin Mast

One of my first memories of high school was the band trip to New York City. I was so excited to be traveling with my friends and to have newfound independence. Unfortunately, we only made it two hours into Pennsylvania when one of our buses broke down, specifically my bus. This resulted in a stop at 4 a.m. where at least 100 grumpy teenagers were unleashed into an unsuspecting travel center. Once our new bus came and we made it to New York, we thought the rest of the trip would be a breeze, until our friend’s suitcase got misplaced and accidently run over by our own tour bus. At that point our misfortune became laughable. Despite all of the challenges we faced, I realized that sometimes life doesn’t go the way we wish, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a great outcome – a lesson I learned to value throughout high school.

Erin plans on attending Butler University to major in Arts Administration. Ten years from now, Erin hopes to be part of an arts program that she can help run and advocate for.

Ms. Schlegel - Erin MastErin Mast – Ms. Schlegel

Ms. Schlegel is not only an exceptional teacher but she’s extremely “real”. By real I mean, I think we know more about her than she knows about us, thanks in part to pictures of her adorable baby. I love her extremely personal style of teaching because it makes learning memorable and enjoyable, even when its an hour of notes. Not only has she prepared me to succeed in school, but I think in many ways she prepared me to succeed in life, thanks to her honestly about her life experiences. Ms. Schlegel has definitely become a role model of mine and I hope she continues to inspire her students for many years to come.

Alexandra Valocchi

As a freshman in high school, I felt that the four years ahead of me would seemingly last forever. Spring of that year, my team, which had quickly become like family, was asked to meet at the school, and we were told that our coach had unexpectedly passed away. Sitting there, barely listening to the words that followed, I realized how unpredictable life is. Recited often, the cliché, “appreciate what you have”, finally meant something more to me. I lost someone who had believed in me and had pushed me to believe in myself. Coach taught me hard work and dedication, values that will impact the rest of my life. These four years truly have gone by fast, as is often said, and I wish that I would have learned even sooner to appreciate the people I would meet, the memories I would create, and the lessons I would learn.

Allie plans on attending the Ohio State University to study Psychology and Neuroscience. Ten years from now she hopes to be doing something that she is passionate about and that impacts the lives of others.

Alexandra Valocchi - Mrs. SmithAlexandra Valocchi – Mrs. Smith

The question I have faced throughout the past year has been, “What do you want to do with your life?” Although still unsure of my answer, I hope to discover, just as Mrs. Smith has, something that I am passionate about. I admire that Mrs. Smith is able to radiate enthusiasm for what she teaches and inspire students to educate themselves about many aspects of the world. She advocates for the importance of students remaining true to their values and encourages the broadening of their ability to understand others’ perspectives. I hope to similarly impact others’ lives by discovering a passion that sparks in me the same intensity that Mrs. Smith has found while teaching.

Elizabeth Ortner

When I began the CEC Workshop class in the fall of 2015, I had no idea that it would lead me to one of the most influential experiences of my life thus far- volunteering at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. The required community service aspect of the course left me stumped, until I stumbled upon an application for Fieldstone’s Volunteer Program. This application bore a rather bold phrase, “Fieldstone Farm, where a horse can change a life.” Little did I know just how accurate this statement is. Over the last 2 and a half years, Fieldstone has been an integral part of my life, as I have accrued over 600 volunteer hours and a greatly altered outlook on the world. I have witnessed individuals say their first words and overcome great challenges, I have felt the joy of a student achieving a goal they had been working towards for years, and most importantly, I have learned that with a smile and enough determination, you can do anything.

Betsy plans on attending Bryn Mawr College to study Occupational Therapy, Russian, and Veterinary Science. Ten years from now, she sees herself as a therapeutic riding instructor, living in a tiny house, and teaching English to Russian speakers.

Elizabeth Ortner - Mr. KrejsaElizabeth Ortner – Mr. Krejsa

Throughout my time at Kenston, I have been lucky enough to be taught by many amazing individuals. One of the most memorable of these educators is Mr. Krejsa. By coupling language learning and life lessons, Mr. Krejsa has had a profound impact on my views of the world. He fostered my love of language, encouraging me to stretch my learning beyond the classroom and into real life. Through humorous anecdotes and patience during otherwise tedious grammar exercises, Mr. Krejsa made learning Russian enjoyable, as he helped myself and my classmates understand the real-world applications of our education. My experiences in Mr. Krejsa’s classes have dramatically impacted my future as they have encouraged me to pursue a major in Russian Language.

Madison Spicuzza

Six chocolate bars: my compensation for watching my friend’s hermit crab, Shelldon– a job I would’ve gladly done for free. I enthusiastically provided Shelldon with daily food and water, heating pad at night, and shade during the day, per my instruction. Apparently, enthusiasm and unconditional love can’t keep a crab alive. I learned this halfway through the week when I opened the box to a gruesome smell. I knew immediately what had happened, despite the initial denial which occurs normally with traumatic experiences. I promptly panicked, cried, and tried to calculate the probability of finding Shelldon’s twin in three days.

Then the call came: “Hey! I’m coming home early! When can I pick up Shelldon?” She knows, I thought. My terrified silence and hesitant, “About that…” ensured her knowledge. My offers to return the remaining chocolate bars and buy her a new crab were refused. Now, she has a fish, which I understandably will never take care of. RIP Shelldon.

Madison plans on attending the University of Dayton to study Early Childhood Education. Ten years from now, she hopes to be a kindergarten teacher, laying the foundation for successful future generations.

Madison Spicuzza - Mr. MalkusMadison Spicuzza – Mr. Malkus

Despite art’s lack of reputation as an acclaimed academic course, it is Mr. Malkus who has challenged me the most throughout my Kenston career. My first year with him truly established my passion for art at the self-proclaimed “Rainbow Table.” Since then, my ideas have been increasingly challenged and artistic style enhanced under Mr. Malkus’s instruction, as he prepared me to be persevere under stress. His banter keeps the class as light as the 50 strands of Christmas lights he let me decorate with, and while I do always listen to his advice, he takes no offense when I decide to take my own creative path instead. I know that in the future I can count on Mr. Malkus as much as I can count on his playing Rebecca Black every Friday, and I thank him for his influence on me as a person as well as an artist.