Before Erin Kilbride received her diploma as valedictorian of Wadsworth High School last week, she made a stop at Summa Barberton Hospital.
Kilbride, who hopes to be a surgeon, has been volunteering in the hospital’s emergency room every Sunday morning for a year. And, despite her commencement later that day, she didn’t want to miss her shift.
“I just do it every Sunday,” said Kilbride, who is known for excelling in many different areas, but not bragging about it.
Kilbride, 18, was ranked No. 1 in a class of 371 at Wadsworth High School this year, with a GPA of 4.355. Her accomplishments aren’t confined to academics, though, with a long list of activities and sports. These include being vice president of the Student Council and National Honor Society, a member of the Key Club and participant in soccer and track.
Scott Callaghan, who had Kilbride in his honors English class, called her a “charismatic leader; a gifted athlete; a faithful friend; and a conscientious, disciplined and hard-working student.”
“Erin is one of the most unique, intelligent and driven pupils with whom I have worked during the past two decades,” he said.
Despite Kilbride’s accomplishments, counselor Laurie Freund said Kilbride isn’t one to seek recognition.
“She’s very deserving of attention, but she’s not trying hard to get everyone’s attention,” she said.
Freund pointed to a group Kilbride co-founded this year as one of her lasting accomplishments. The group, called Team SuPEERior, paired freshmen with upper-class mentors who helped them to navigate their way through their first year of high school. Freund said the first year went well, with freshmen willing to ask the mentors questions they wouldn’t pose to counselors.
“The more help we can get in that area, the better,” Freund said. “[Kilbride] did a really good job.”
Kilbride said she and a few other seniors came up with the idea for the program, which will continue next year, as a way to help assuage the fear that comes with the start of high school.
“There were some things we wish we’d known as freshmen,” she said.
Kibride also found another venue to give back to others through Wadsworth United Methodist Church. She attended mission trips to Chicago and to Steubenville twice. In Chicago, she helped make improvements to a church and worked in soup kitchens. In Steubenville, she helped make improvements to a warehouse that distributes food to the needy and moved a community garden from one spot to another.
“It was cool to see the work done,” she said.
Kilbride’s career plans have changed over the years, veering from business to engineering to medicine. Her current aspiration is to be a surgeon, possibly specializing in orthopedic or cardiothoracic medicine.
Kilbride chose Rice University in Houston as her top pick because of its close proximity to the Texas Medical Center and the training opportunity this provides. She said helping at Barberton Hospital, where her tasks have included changing bedsheets, moving patients and getting patients water, has given her a glimpse of what her future career will be like.
“I like just seeing what it would be like in a medical field,” said Kilbride, who admits to binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. “The ER is pretty busy. I like the fast pace of it.”
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.