New Castle News

June 9, 2012

Super Grad 5: Laurel grad embraces environment

Tory Irwin
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Many high school seniors now are scrambling to figure out what they want to do with their lives.

For Laurel salutatorian Ciara Hovis, it’s not such a big question.

Her interest in science and environment conservation made her choice of a biology major at Penn State relatively easy, as did the fact that her parents both have careers in the field. Her mother is a biology teacher at Laurel; her dad is a wildlife biologist.

In school, Hovis was involved in several science clubs and activities, including Science Olympiad, Envirothon, and her position as president of the Natural Science Society. She also was involved in student council, Peer Leadership, Rotary Youth Leadership, Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership, and served as the secretary/treasurer for the National Honors society.

Academically, she is the recipient of Laurel’s English, Science and Social Studies merit awards and was the winner of the Lawrence County Bar Association Essay Contest.

Outside of school, Hovis volunteered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America as well as PA Cleanways, an organization that sponsors recycling events, clean-ups, and other environmental sustaining activities.

“I’m really into the environment and preserving it. My mom really helped me get into that,” Hovis said of her involvement with PA Cleanways.

She is excited to continue working with the environment, and to work and learn outside of the classroom when she makes the step up to Penn State in the fall. She hopes to further her involvement with sustainable activities by becoming a conservationist biologist and to help install more environmentally friendly laws.

Hovis’ passion also extends to music. She was a member of both choir and chamber choir during her time at Laurel, attended district festivals for choir, and participated in school musicals, playing the female lead, Polly Baker, in the school’s performance of “Crazy for You” her junior year.

She names that musical as one of her favorite memories of high school. “All my friends were leads that year (as well). It was so much fun.”

Her work with Big Brothers, Big Sisters made a big impression on Hovis as well. She says that working with her “little sister” was the most rewarding high school experience, allowing her to connect to a girl who didn’t have the best home life.

“It’s probably one of the big things that impacted me and shaped me into the person I am today,” she said. “It made me be more conscientious of how I present myself and made me open up more. I could let my guard down around this little girl and really be myself.”

Hovis, who received her diploma Thursday, believes that being involved was one reason she had such a good high school experience, and advises others to do the same.

“Be involved in your school as much as possible. There are so many opportunities to do great things—leave your mark.”

The best way to do this, she shares, is to be conscientious. She leaves a tip for all underclassmen.

“Get all of your admissions and scholarship essays done early so later in your senior year you can enjoy being with your friends and going to school events. And try not to stress.”

(Email: t_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)