Prep Elite: Young Volunteers

Academic and athletic excellence aren’t all these two prep seniors have to offer.

Olivia Witt

Activities: Cross-country, basketball, track, Student Council
Volunteering: Preteen church camp photographer, member of NHS and NEHS, strings teacher

St. Croix Prep in Bayport is a relatively small school, so there is a lot of opportunity to participate in activities, making it hard to choose a favorite, 17-year-old Olivia Witt says. The daughter of David and Sarah Witt, however, enjoys her involvement in Student Council, planning and organizing events such as dances and pep fests. While she spent the summer researching higher education options and hasn’t settled on a college or major yet, a bevy of early-fall events are keeping her busy at St. Croix Prep, which her sister, Celia, also attends.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Spanish, because I have been with the same group of kids for a couple of years, and we have great camaraderie. The teachers make the classes engaging and fun to be a part of.

How do you give back, either to your school or another community you are a member of?
Participating in organizations such as National Honor Society, NEHS and Student Council help enrich our school, but also aim to serve the greater community. I have enjoyed providing string lessons to younger students and have served at our church preteen camp.

Why do you volunteer in this way?
I love to be busy and involved, and I find working together with our student body very fulfilling.

What’s your secret to success?
My planner! I have to prioritize and write everything down.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have to work really hard to stay organized and focused. It doesn’t come naturally, and my overflowing binder is often an accurate representation of my life.

Andrew Rippy

Activities: Track, cross-country
Volunteering: Boy Scouts, tutor

Senior Andrew Rippy is involved in so much more than sports, but he has to admit his favorite school activity is running, something he’s been doing officially for St. Croix Prep since seventh grade. “I am a captain of my track team,” the son of Marian and Randy proudly exclaims. No surprise, then, that he hopes to continue running in college, ideally at his No. 1 choice of MIT, where he’d like to study computer science. His greatest avenue for giving back to his community has been Boy Scouts, often participating in park and highway cleanups. or Feed My Starving Children, through which he completed his Eagle Scout designation last year.

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject would be either physics or math. I love them, because they can be used and applied to nearly everything and give ways to explain almost anything.

How do you give back, either to your school or another community you are a member of?
I participate in service projects wherever I can. I have attained Eagle Scout, which alone required 200-plus hours of service to complete [the requisite] project, which was the construction of bat houses for the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. I always try to offer a helping hand wherever I can, and enjoy helping people, for example, shoveling the snow from the driveway of an elderly neighbor of mine.

Why do you volunteer in this way?
I enjoy helping people. It makes me smile when I know that I have helped a person’s day get a little better.

What’s your favorite pre-game ritual?
Spaghetti dinners for track and cross-country: There is nothing like sitting down at a table with your team the night before a big meet to share some quality time and laughs. It is a great bonding experience, and makes an already great thing [spaghetti] better.

What’s your secret to success?
I believe it is my constant striving for perfection. Anytime I don’t understand something, I will do whatever it takes to understand it and perfect it. I strive to get As on everything, no matter how small, because every little bit adds up and, over time, the work you put in culminates to something more. I try not to accept failure and give up; rather, I take it, run with it and get better from it.