“You’re off to great places, today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.” – Dr. Suess
Senior Stephen Waltrip certainly has an exciting “mountain” awaiting him as he will soon enter Indiana University as a direct admit into the prestigious Kelley School of Business. As he and his classmates prepare for their commencement activities, we asked Stephen to reflect back on his time at Althoff Catholic High School – starting with how he came to choose Althoff.
Stephen’s mother, Elaine LeChein, is a 1979 graduate of Althoff Catholic. As Stephen was wrapping up his 8th grade year, his older brother, Thomas, was completing his time at Althoff Catholic. With a strong family legacy, one might assume that Stephen was sure all along that he would be attending Althoff; however, his two best grade school friends had decided to go to an all-boys school in St. Louis. “As a 14 year-old, I definitely felt the pull between following in my family’s footsteps and wanting to join my friends and attend the St. Louis school,” said Stephen. “Ultimately I decided to attend Althoff Catholic due to the fact that my brother was extremely successful and got a great education at Althoff – I am very happy with my decision.”
From the beginning of freshman year, Althoff Catholic’s college placement counselors and teachers are focused on helping students prepare for college. “Freshman year, I told my counselor, Mrs. Schaefer, that I planned on going to one of the best business schools in the country,” said Stephen. “She and my teachers helped me every step of the way, I knew from the beginning that they actually cared about me and wanted me to be successful.”
In addition to Althoff Catholic’s academic rigor and faith formation, Stephen has found countless opportunities to grow as a leader. As a captain of the varsity soccer team, Stephen helped lead a team that consisted mostly of underclassmen. Stephen has also served as a leader for the A.C.E. (Althoff Catholic Enrichment) program for incoming freshmen and transfer students. As an A.C.E. Leader, Stephen co-lead a group of freshmen on the first day of school and met with his group once each quarter to help ensure freshmen were adjusting well to the high school experience and offering assistance as needed. “One of the ways we were able to help was to talk to the freshmen about preparing for final exams,” said Stephen.
Another opportunity Stephen had at Althoff Catholic was participation in the Belleville CEO dual credit honors class. Belleville CEO is a program offered to students at the four Belleville high schools. The mission of Belleville CEO is to provide comprehensive educational experience for the community’s high school students, equipping them to be the enterprising individual and entrepreneurial thinkers who contribute to the economic development of our county. “As someone interested in business, the CEO program has been a great experience,” said Stephen. “Every day from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. our class meets with various business owners throughout the area. They talk to us about how they started and became successful. As the year comes to an end, we have created our own personal businesses and have presented them at a trade show. This class has given me a lot of ‘real world’ experience.”
As was mentioned earlier in this story, one of Stephen’s best grade school friends chose to attend an all-boys high school in St. Louis. Stephen is very excited that while their high school path’s took them in different directions, they are both direct admits into the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and will be rooming together.
Stephen’s Advice to 8th Graders Planning for High School
“My best advice to kids planning for high school is to find your best fit. Althoff is a welcoming, family environment. That has been my favorite part of high school. As you walk down the halls, students and teachers will know your name. I am extremely happy with my decision to attend Althoff Catholic High School. Althoff has provided me with many opportunities and has prepared me well for one of the top business schools in the world.”