(This story was first published in the May 30, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
By Katy Savage
Asa Waterworth has two simple goals for the future. “I want to be happy and I want to be helping people,” she said.
Every week for the past year, Waterworth has volunteered in the community classroom at WUHS. She’s helping a student with a learning disability make a movie about the Town of Woodstock.
“It’s a privilege getting to know all those kids,” Waterworth, 17, said. “It’s one of the better parts of my day every time I go in there. They make me laugh; they’re a lot of fun.”
Waterworth, who will graduate June 14 as Woodstock Union High School’s salutatorian, is also a member of Change the World Kids. She’s helped donate food to the Woodstock Food Bank and helped make a difference in the environmental and humanitarian world. She’s won many awards, including the Wellesley College Book Award, academic awards and art awards.
“I hold myself to pretty high standards and I always have,” she said.
Waterworth has taken French classes since kindergarten. She’s been to England and Alaska and will soon go to Costa Rica with Change the World Kids. She spent a semester abroad in France last year where all of her classes were in French.
“It takes someone to really adapt to changing environments,” French teacher Colleen O’Connell said. “The schedule is different. It’s very hard to be in a new town, meet new people. But students who decide they really want to do it, they become successful at it. (Asa) is one of the ones who became successful.”
By the end of her trip, Waterworth was earning some of the top grades among her French-speaking peers. Waterworth has an impressive résumé, but she’s not worried about that.
“She really doesn’t worry about what looks good on a résumé,” Waterworth’s mom, Karen said. “She’s more concerned about her genuine interests in a topic or situation or activity.”
Waterworth is taking a gap year before entering Connecticut College undeclared next year. Waterworth wants to return to Europe to practice her French. She’s also looked at a service learning program in Africa. “To some things, she has a very mature approach,” Karen said. “She wants to feel as though she’s made a positive different in someone’s life.” The soon-to-be graduate isn’t sure what her future holds, but she’s looking forward to life outside of high school.
“It’s strange to think this is the first time I’m going to be on my own and I’m going to have a lot of choices. It’s all kind of planned out in high school, you kind of just go with the flow,” she said.
Waterworth will continue working hard, even when grades aren’t a factor.
“I’m looking forward to having more freedom and knowing that outside of college, success isn’t necessarily measured by grades or class ranks,” she said. “I’m still going to be working hard but it might be in a different way, for different reasons.”
Whatever she chooses, learning opportunities director Janice Winslow said Waterworth will go far.
“She’s one of those wonderful people who is going to go far,” Winslow said. “Any community will be very happy — whether it’s a college or this community — they’ll benefit from having Asa around.”
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