By Linda Dillman
Recent Canal Winchester High School graduate and valedictorian Gabriella Howard is following a career path she imagined at a young age—to attend a top 10 university following her secondary education.
This fall, Howard can check off that goal when she enters the doors of Northwestern University to pursue an undergraduate degree in applied math and economics.
“My parents took me and my siblings on many college visits to top colleges, such as Harvard, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and many others,” said Howard. “When we visited Northwestern, I fell in love with everything about it. Also, Northwestern has the only competitive applied math program in the country that focuses on the social sciences, called Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences. It only accepts 30 students per year, and I was accepted.”
Howard plans to attend graduate school to further increase her expertise and envisions a future in which she conducts Ph.D. level research in academia or industry.
She is also a National Merit Finalist. The top one percent of high school juniors taking the PSAT entrance exam—an elite field which includes Howard—earn National Merit semi-finalist status.
Qualified students then apply to become one of 2,500 finalists who receive a $2,500 scholarship. All totaled, Howard received $18,500 in scholarships, including a 2021 Ohio Capital Conference Academic Scholarship, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society Scholarship, Mabel Wagnalls Jones Scholarship, South Central Power – Academic Excellence Scholarship and Young Entrepreneurs Program – YEP College Scholarship.
Getting to this point in her young life was a path filled with college-level educational opportunities, participation in the high school’s Business Professionals of America club, an agenda packed with sports competitions, and community service.
“The main contribution that I made in my community was through my and my siblings’ 501(c)3 non-profit organization named Pumpkins Helping People,” stated Howard. “For the past few years, we have sold fall pumpkins through our website, www.pumpkinshelpingpeople.org, and have donated all of the money to the Canal Winchester Food Pantry. We have raised over $8,500 for the Canal Food Pantry since 2017.”
Howard played soccer all four years of high school, was on the varsity squad for three years, and served as a captain her senior year. She also played basketball and was on the varsity track and field team her senior year. Apart from sports, she was also involved in multiple clubs.
While taking college classes at Columbus State simultaneously during her high school career, she was a member and president of the college’s Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor society.
The class of 2021 valedictorian was homeschooled until the sixth grade and attended seventh grade part time at Canal Winchester Middle School. From eighth grade on, she attended district schools full time and started taking college courses as a high school freshman through the College Credit Plus program.
“I had a great high school experience at Canal Winchester. I made countless memories, amazing friends, and learned so much,” said Howard. “I believe these last four years have prepared me for college and life after college and I can’t wait to see how the rest of my life turns out.”