Teen of the Week: Teen’s interests diversified

Grace Arnold was chosen by the administration at Marietta High School to represent the student body at a meeting with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in April at Washington State Community College when Portman was looking for community input into ideas he had for meeting the opioid crisis. Her diversity of interests – music, stage and politics – nearly guarantees the Marietta High School junior will have an impact on the world.

Question: How did you wind up at the session with Sen. Portman?

Answer: Mr. (Chad) Rinard (principal of Marietta High School) and Mr. (Chris) Laumann (assistant principal) called me down to the office and told me about it and asked me if I’d like to go. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to represent the kids in my school.

Q: Did you know what the meeting would be about?

A: I knew it was about the opioid crisis and I feel it’s important to keep that conversation going with young people. It’s such an epidemic, and I wanted to do what’s best for the school.

Q: How do you feel about the outcome?

A: Pretty optimistic. Sen. Portman seemed to have a pretty good plan, and there were several members of the community there. That’s what you want when you’re a representative.

Q: What’s your interest in music?

A: I’ve been fascinated with music since I was little, and I decided I wanted to learn piano on a whim when I was 6. I’ve really become passionate about it, and it’s something I’ll always have with me. I’ve been in the chorus in school musicals and with the Mid-Ohio Valley Players, and I’m trying out for choir next year.

Q: What sort of music do you like best?

A: I really like to play classical music, and lately I’ve taken to jazz and improvisation. I like being able to do jazz versions of pop music because people recognize it but it’s a different way of playing it.

Q: Talk about your experience at Marietta High School. Are there any teachers who have influenced you?

A: I’ve had a really good experience at Marietta High School, I’ve made lots of friends.My teachers Mr. (Keith) Ullman in pre-calculus and Mrs. (Amy) Warren in British literature always push me to do the best I can, and they really care about what they teach.

Q: What are your career plans?

A: Right now my top choice for college is The Ohio State University, and I’d like to study either music therapy or political science because they have two of my great passions.

Q: Is there anyone you think of as a hero or role model in your life?

A: Both my parents inspire me to be the best person I can be, and my piano teacher, Merewyn Weinkapf, has really helped me grow up, and I admire her and want to thank her.

Q: What’s the book you’ve read most recently that you enjoyed?

A: I love books and I love to read, and last year I read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I really think it had a lot to say about the current climate, and it’s an important book for young people to read.

Q: What would you like to influence in the world?

A: My biggest passion overall is really people, I love being around them and talking to them. Whatever I do, I want to be able to help people, even if it’s a little thing, to change people’s lives for the better.

Michael Kelly conducted this interview. To nominate a student for Teen of the Week, email news@mariettatimes.com.

Grace Arnold

≤ Age: 16.

≤ Hometown: Marietta.

≤ School: Marietta High School, junior.

≤ Family: Mother Amy Arnold, father Chris Arnold, sister, Emily Arnold, 14.

≤ Activities: Tennis, piano, school musicals, Mid-Ohio Valley Players, junior class president of the student council, summer job at Witten Farm.