Senior, Western Reserve Academy
A horse rider since age 7, Malson has recently been galloping her way to success. In March, she and her show horse Tronador (whom she calls Harry) were crowned champion of the Novice Rider Jumpers at Lake St. Louis Winter Festival Horse Shows in Missouri. They placed third in the Low Children's Jumper Classic at the Horse Show by the Bay in Michigan in July. It's Genetics: Malson's mother, Ellen, attended college for equine studies and started at the same barn, Hudson Equestrian Center, where Joanna and her sister ride. "I don't remember ever saying to my mom that I wanted to ride horses," she says. "I was just around it and started doing it." Dream Ride: Harry's a big horse with a strong build. "He looks like something right out of a fairy tale," she says. Animal Connection: Malson's trainer encourages the 17-year-old to think like Harry's partner, using her hands and legs as the brain to his brawn. "The teamwork between Harry and me is just so cool," she says. Free Rein: Malson credits her adviser, math teacher Elizabeth Wirtz, with pushing her to follow her dreams. "She helps me through everything," she says.
Senior, Gilmour Academy
Working alongside Gilmour biology teacher Edward Turk, Seibert used computer models to predict the structure of two proteins found in yeast and discover similarities between them. The research was published last October in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed journal from the Public Library of Science. Independent Student: Seibert signed up for the independent research study knowing that he wanted to work on proteins. "While I am Dr. Turk's student, I feel like I get the same amount of respect from him as if I was his colleague," he says. Grass Fed: Both of Seibert's parents are historians. "My first real introduction to science was a documentary called Walking with Dinosaurs," he says. "There's something about looking at prehistoric life that fascinated me. For a while, I would even go off and dig around in my yard looking for fossils." Future Star: The 17-year-old plans to attend Case Western Reserve University where he expects to double major in systems biology and the history and philosophy of science. "I've actually been thinking about this since sixth grade," he says. "I like to live in the moment, but I also like to plan ahead." Run Time: As a captain of Gilmour's boys cross-country team, Seibert is excited for the upcoming season. "I get to give back to the team that's given me so much," he says. "I like watching the younger runners develop and hone their skills out on the course."
Senior, Magnificat High School
As president of Magnificat's Animal Lovers Club, Kitzel organized a program that brought therapy dogs to school as a stress reliever for students during exam week. Top Dog: She solicited volunteers through Therapy Dogs International and Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, hearing from more than 30 interested owners. Held in January and June, the two-day event attracted up to 300 students and was such a success that it may need to expand. "I was approached by a faculty member at Westlake High School wanting to do therapy dogs there as well," she says. Wild Ride: Kitzel works as a kennel assistant at the Detroit Dover Animal Hospital in Westlake. The 17-year-old equestrian rider also volunteers with therapeutic riding at Rocky River Stables and already finished her senior graduation requirement by shadowing at the Cleveland Equine Clinic. "It's helped me decide what kind of field of veterinary medicine I want to go into," Kitzel says. Animal Whisperer: She has her hands full at home too with a leopard gecko, a hamster, two chinchillas, a horse and three dogs. "Animals have the ability to de-stress you and calm you down," she says. Circus Act: At Messiah Lutheran School in Fairview Park, Kitzel was a part of the clown ministry. "It was a way to convey gospel messages in the form of clownish humor," she says. "I used to put a red nose on and wear mismatched socks. It was the best thing ever."
Sophomore, Laurel School
For a budding entrepreneur like Saltzman, it's easy being green. As the creator of R3 Clothing (repurposed, recycled and refashioned), her unique and ecologically friendly designs have been showcased in the Young Entrepreneur Market at North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square. In Stitches: Saltzman was learning how to sew from her mother at about the same time she became involved with a Laurel business plan competition involving recycling. "I like being creative and coming up with new ideas," Saltzman says. She developed about 50 pieces, including jackets, tops, dresses, skirts, scarves and purses. "We have tank tops that are repurposed using men's shirts and paneled skater skirts made out of T-shirts or denim." Scrap Look: Nothing goes to waste when Saltzman is finished with a design. "About 10,000 tons of clothing is disposed of every year," she says. "I don't waste any scraps. Most of them will go into something else I make." Fashion Sense: Her clothes may not be drawing attention on a catwalk yet, but Saltzman still gets a thrill when someone notices her designs. "It's exciting when I'm wearing something and someone asks where I got it," she says. Multitasker: The 15-year-old runs track and cross-country at Laurel and has qualified for two national figure skating competitions with the Gilmour Figure Skating Club. But that's not all. She's also on the debate team, Laurel's community service board and works as a cashier at Dave's Market in Richmond Heights. "I don't have a lot of free time."
Senior, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School
While St. Vincent-St. Mary's Model United Nations team was established just five years ago, it already has a star in Kofsky. The 17-year-old was one of 14 students selected for the All American Model U.N. Team, which traveled to Beijing for a competition in August. Real World: Kofsky appreciates that Model U.N. puts him in situations not readily available in typical high school settings. "A lot of the time Model U.N. is very real-world," he says. "There are a lot of negotiations going on, so it gives you a taste of how the corporate world works and the real world works." Opening Up: While in Beijing, Kofsky and his team planned to tour the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China and sample local cuisine. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he says. Politically Minded: Kofsky's love of all things politics even crosses into pop culture. He's a big fan of HBO's The Newsroom and House of Cards on Netflix. "My favorite book would probably be Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand," he adds. Religious Studies: "I'm Jewish and going to a Catholic school," Kofsky says. "At first, it was kind of weird, but after a while it opens your eyes to other religions." Slope Style: Kofsky still manages to find time away from politics and school as a ski instructor at Boston Mills-Brandywine Ski Resort. "It's probably my favorite thing to do," he says. "Even more than Model U.N."
Freshman, University School
While still in eighth grade, the baby-faced drummer helped reggae band Backstage Politics win the Tri-C High School Rock Off at the House of Blues in February. Drum Roll: At 7 years old, Porter started playing at the School of Rock in Highland Heights and hasn't looked back. "Drumming just kind of came to me naturally," he says. "In reggae, the whole beat of the music carries on that calm beat, but it can be full of energy too." Lively Tempo: University School is challenging, so Porter tries to do his homework during the school day. "If I do have homework," he says, "I do it as soon as I get home." Island Vibe: Not many bands comprised of suburban kids play reggae, but Backstage Politics received praise from California ska band Mad Caddies. "We had a great opportunity to open for [them] at the Grog Shop," Porter recalls. "After their show, they told us they would never have expected kids like us to play this kind of stuff. And they liked it." Big Gig: Despite their ages, Porter and his bandmates appeared at the Taste of Tremont this summer. "We played in a parking lot on top of a stage made out of dumpsters," he says. The band also landed a spot as an opening act at the new Music Box Supper Club. Under the Influence: The 14-year-old's drumming role models include Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Questlove and Bill Bruford. "I'll take a complicated fill by one of them and play it slowly at first," he says. Then he ups the tempo. "It helps with dexterity and feel."
Senior, Walsh Jesuit High School
Coley is determined to find a way to combine her passions for the greater good. The Walsh Jesuit senior is part of a cancer research program and is an advocate for the abolishment of capital punishment, all in an effort to find a way to serve communities large and small. Designer Genes: Coley lost an aunt to pancreatic cancer and was inspired to get involved with a Cleveland Clinic internship program, working alongside Dr. Patrick Ma and Dr. Lihong Lin in a hematology and oncology laboratory. "I've always been interested in science, particularly research," she says. "There is an incredible opportunity to find mutations than can cause cancer." Traveling Act: After helping develop a capital punishment education and advocacy initiative, Coley and a classmate presented it at the Ignatian Family Teach-In held in Washington, D.C., last year. She also made a service trip to Ecuador last spring and visited Italy with her Latin class this summer. "Walsh has been great about allowing me to explore so many different passions," Coley adds. Down Time: The 17-year-old rides on an equestrian team in Hudson and enjoys writing, reading and printmaking in her spare time. Her downtime playlist includes the Head and the Heart, Coldplay and John Mayer, all of whom she has seen in concert. "Each of them write poetic lyrics and very relaxing music." Service Area: "I think my connector is service and passion, finding a way of using my talents to serve the greatest needs in our society," she says.
Junior, Lake Ridge Academy
Flaherty earned a perfect score for his performance of "A Very Single Man" from the musical Five Course Love at the 2014 State Thespian Conference. A Lake Ridge Academy musical theater student, he advanced to the International Thespian Festival in June at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Single Man: Half the job of musical theater, says Flaherty, is finding a piece that jells with your personality. " A Very Single Man' was such a gem," he says. "It's about embracing the fact that you're single. The character is so funny and witty. I just thought it was perfect." Old School: Before going onstage, the 16-year-old likes to listen to Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems." "It gets me hyped up," he says. "It's so superficial, and I can listen to it and just feel awesome for a second." Behind the Scenes: "Musical theater is such an extroverted industry, but I love it so much because it gets me through a lot," he says. "It's the greatest form of self-expression, because I've never really truly felt like myself unless I'm being someone else." Man of the House: Lake Ridge Academy's Hogwarts-esque house system places incoming freshmen in one of four houses where they assimilate, bond and grow with a range of students across all grades. Last year, Flaherty's DaVinci House won the House Cup for the first time in history. "It's a great way to meet new people, to show your spirit for the school and have some friendly competition," he says.
Senior, Hathaway Brown School
Goldblum, who competed in the Veale Youth Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition last year, founded Second Breakfast Bakery. She runs the pastry and catering company out of her house, even selling her baked goods at the Young Entrepreneur Market as part of the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square. Tasty Treats: Known for her cream puffs, Goldblum has begun testing additional flavors. "We started out with vanilla and chocolate," she says. "But now I can do all kinds of different flavors." A recent batch included lemon, peanut butter and cinnamon, and dark chocolate and hazelnut. Bumpy Ride: While the 17-year-old's business is growing, it's still not all a piece of cake. "All the money that I make goes back into the business," she says. "My spending money comes from baby-sitting." Outside the Kitchen: Goldblum, who is involved in four different singing groups at Hathaway Brown, loves to be in front of an audience. "Last year, I spent the year as a Soprano 1. I was able to really stretch my vocal chords and hit those high notes," she says. "I just love it. If I'm not baking or studying, then I'm singing." Finding a Niche: Goldblum's two older brothers have always known what they want to do, but she's struggled to find her calling. "With baking and singing, I've realized I am capable of having a thing," she says. "My goal in college and after is to experience a bunch of different, new things and find a career that's really important and fulfilling."