This is Randolph

Meet some of Randolph’s newest originals from the Class of 2015.

Experience as an EMT proves life-changing for honor graduate

Kat Riedel '15, Danville, VirginiaWhen Katherine “Kat” Elizabeth Riedel ’15 was young, she was fascinated by the ambulances that raced by her school every day. “I’d always want to know what was going on inside there,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of it.”

But that interest took a backseat to ballet. Riedel took classical ballet lessons for 15 years, competed for three years as a ballroom dancer, and eventually joined a ballet company in Roanoke, Virginia. “Dance made me so happy,” she said. “But I wanted something more out of my life.”

So in a move that shocked her parents, Riedel, who is from Danville, Virginia, decided to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She juggled the preparation with her honors coursework at the Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science, and Technology, where she was taking dual enrollment courses at a community college. She completed the requirements and passed the difficult practical exam for an EMT-Basic just before her senior year.

“A lot of students work at McDonald’s or whatever,” Riedel said. “I figured that if I had to have some sort of job, I’d rather be taking care of people than serving up heart attacks.”

After earning her certification, Riedel began volunteering for the Danville Life Saving Crew. It is an unpaid job that often brings heartache, difficult and emotional situations, and intense stress, but she would not have it any other way.

Kat Riedel works as an emergency medical technician“You have to be tough,” she said. “And you have to be able to tell them, ‘This is what we are doing, and this is how we’re going to do it.’ Being an EMT takes a special type of personality. And it fills something inside of me that I think I’d be empty without.”

Riedel graduated from the Governor’s School with honors and as a Graduate of Distinction. But the experience she gained from her work as an EMT has been the most life changing. She plans to become a flight nurse and paramedic after graduating from Randolph.

“I like being able to go to bed at night and know that maybe in some small or big way, I’ve made a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “Usually, it’s just knowing I was there to hold their hand, but occasionally, you know someone is alive because of you. That’s an amazing feeling.”

 

 

Hoopster excels on the court and in the classroom

Logan Sneed '15, Greenville, North CarolinaMost high school students would be content to earn a 4.0 grade-point average or to win a spot on an elite North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association basketball team. But for Logan Sneed ’15, who is from Greenville, North Carolina, it was never an either-or proposition.

Excelling in the classroom has always been just as important to him as competing on the court.

Sneed, who has two older brothers, an older sister, and a younger sister, was encouraged to take school seriously from a young age.

“The problem is that I messed up by making good grades in first grade, so I had to just keep doing that,” he admitted with a laugh.

“My older brothers and sister grew up smart, so when I started getting good grades as a little kid, they made sure I kept it up through high school.”

His athletic talent paralleled his success in school.

“I’ve been playing basketball probably since I was about 5 years old,” Sneed said. “My older brother Kramer was my role model in sports. He taught me so much about playing. I always looked up to him, and then I always aimed to be better than he was once I really got playing.”

By 10th grade, Sneed had settled into a rigorous training routine that included waking up at 4:30 a.m. to play pick-up games and work out at a local gym before school. His big opportunity to prove himself on the court came when he transferred to the prestigious Greenfield School—a 45-minute commute from his home—after his sophomore year.

“It was just totally different in terms of the competition,” he said. “I had never been on a winning team before.”

Logan SneedThe team made it all the way to the state championship game his first year. Last year, the team went as far as the semifinals, with the 6'1" Sneed playing the shooting and point guard positions, though he joked, “I keep waiting for that second growth spurt to kick in, but I don’t think it’s coming.”

While Sneed looks forward to playing the sport he loves at Randolph, he has ambitions and interests that extend beyond the court, including a passion for film and finance.

“I’m really interested in business,” he said, adding that he would like to pursue a career as a financial advisor, like his father. “I took an accounting course in high school, and that was the most interesting thing I studied.”

 

Alaskan native’s passion for fishing helps her haul in 175-pound halibut

Lizzy Brown '15, Anchorage, Alaska“My older brothers and sister grew up smart, so when I started getting good grades as a little kid, they made sure I kept it up through high school.”

“People always ask me what it is like to live in Alaska. I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by the wild. And there’s just no way to describe what it is like to live there.”

When Elizabeth “Lizzy” Brown arrived at a boarding school in Massachusetts for 10th grade, she experienced a bit of culture shock. After growing up in the picturesque foothills that overlook Anchorage, Alaska, Brown had a slightly different idea of fun than her fellow students.

“All anybody wanted to do was go to the movies, the mall, dinner, or lunch,” she said. “I was sitting there going, ‘How about we go on a hike or go skating or something?’”

Brown spent much of her childhood around the wild animals of Alaska. She began fishing with her father at an early age and thinks nothing of seeing moose, bears, and even lynx in her backyard. In Alaska, outdoor activities like skiing, biking, and hunting are the norm for teenagers.

“I was one of the late bloomers when it came to shooting because my mom is really uncomfortable with guns,” Brown said. “My dad was really nice about convincing her to let me have one. So far I’ve only done target practice. But I plan to go hunting eventually.”

Her biggest passion, however, is fishing, especially for salmon or rainbow trout. When Lizzy was 12, she hooked a 175-pound halibut during her first deep-sea fishing trip.

“That was an experience,” she said. “At the time, I only weighed probably 65 or 75 pounds, tops. It took me about two hours to reel it in.”

But Brown does not spend all of her time outdoors. She has studied ballet since she was 2.

“It’s a pretty good balance,” she said. “I might do ballet in the morning and head out and go fishing in the afternoon. One of my mom’s favorite photos is of me holding a silver salmon. I am all bundled up in fishing gear, but if you look closely, you can see my fingernails are painted red. That’s pretty typical of me.”

A sense of adventure has led Brown to travel to 15 countries, including Australia, China, and Indonesia. But the most life-changing experience came when she was accepted into and spent the summer at the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece. “I love getting to know a new culture and seeing how people in other places are different from us,” she said.

No matter where she goes, Brown knows Alaska will always be her first love.

“People always ask me what it is like to live in Alaska,” Brown said. “I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by the wild. And there’s just no way to describe what it is like to live there. It’s so different from anywhere else. I love it.”

Longtime rider and her horse carry on family legacy at Randolph

Reynolds Martin '15, Ruckersville, VirginiaWhile most first-years were packing and lugging clothes, laptops, iPads, and other college “essentials” to Randolph College this summer, Anne “Reynolds” Martin ’15 had something a bit larger in tow—Kelso, her 11-year-old thoroughbred horse.

Martin, who is from Ruckersville, Virginia, has been riding since she was 4 years old.

“I love riding,” she said. “I love being outside. I love everything about it and everything that comes with it.”

When it came time for Martin to choose a college, she knew she wanted one that would provide a challenge for her—and Kelso. Randolph accepts a limited number of horses to its program and is selective about those chosen.

“The fact that I could bring my horse was very important to me,” Martin said. “I can’t stop riding. It’s something that I’ll always have to do.”

Last year, Martin took home first prize in the Virginia Horse Show Association (VHSA) Children’s Hunter Stakes class. She was also the Reserve Champion of the Children’s Hunter Division at the VHSA Associate Finals. She plans to continue showing Kelso, whose formal name is Castle Exchange, as part of Randolph’s riding team.

Horses have long been a tradition in Martin’s family, much like the College. Martin’s mother, Owen Murray Jaeger ’83, and grandmother and namesake, Jane Reynolds Murray ’66, both attended the College. And her cousin, Maggie Murray ’14, currently rides for Randolph.

Reynolds Martin“I think it’s cool that my mom, grandmother, and I will all have degrees from the same place,” she said.

Her parents and grandmother grew up involved with horses, and Martin was given her first horse from her aunt.

“My mom never shoved me into riding or anything,” she said. “It just came naturally.” Kelso, who was green when Martin got him, has taught her more than she thought possible about riding. “When he doesn’t know something, I learn because I have to teach him,” she said.

She is glad Kelso will be close by while she is at college. “I can still work with him to reach our goals without having to go home all the time.”

Riding also helps Martin in other ways. “I can be having a terrible day, and I’ll go ride, and all of it kind of fades away,” she said. “Even though I’m working and focusing on my horse, it just relaxes me. There is just something about the bond that forms between you and your horse.”

“I think it’s cool that my mom, grandmother, and I will all have degrees from the same place.”

Gottwald Scholar revives community park for Eagle Scout ranking

Hart Gillespie '15, Hurt, VirginiaWhen Hart Gillespie ’15 had to decide on a leadership project to meet his Eagle Scout requirements in 2009, improving a park near his home was a natural solution for the Randolph Gottwald Scholar.

He had often camped in the park, and his Boy Scout troop held important ceremonies there. While Wayside Park had been a popular spot for residents of Pittsylvania and Campbell Counties in Virginia during its earlier days, it had fallen into disuse and was no longer a place many people enjoyed.

“It was not exactly in its prime,” said Gillespie, who lives several miles away in Hurt, Virginia. “It needed to be improved so we could get more interest in it and so more people would use it.”

Gillespie decided to create a walking trail in the thick woods—complete with signage and benches—that would connect two parts of the 53-acre park. The project took 228 hours and involved intense planning in addition to coordinating volunteers, securing donations of material, and providing plenty of hard labor. Today, more people are visiting the park and using the trail, including a cross country team from an area high school.

“I feel like I made an improvement,” Gillespie said. “My project did draw some attention to the park, and I’m glad to have it there. That means something.”

Hart Gillespie earns Eagle Scout honorsThe project also helped earn Gillespie the most coveted Boy Scout honor, the rank of Eagle Scout.

“That is one of the things I’m most proud of,” he said. “It is definitely a distinct thing I’ve done in my life so far that will have the most impact on me.”

Gillespie’s achievements are not limited to scouting awards. In addition to receiving Randolph’s most prestigious scholarship, the Gottwald Scholarship, he graduated as the valedictorian of his class at the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology and has become an active volunteer and leader with his Boy Scout troop. Gillespie’s interests vary from science and astronomy to tennis and geography.

He became involved in Randolph’s astronomy research group this spring after meeting a professor at the College’s Leaders and Scholars event for prospective students.

“The neatest thing I’ve ever seen is the last Leonid meteor storm,” he said. “My family grabbed chairs and sat outside at 4 a.m. looking at the sky. You could see streaks of light coming from everywhere. There were so many meteors you didn’t even have to look for them.”

“I feel like I made an improvement. My project did draw some attention to the park, and I’m glad to have it there. That means something.”