Olentangy’s Helber plans medical career
Story and photo by
Hannah Helber is excited about her future.
The Olentangy High School senior is enthusiastic about her prospects for the future, excited to be on her own and ready for the “start of the rest of my life.”
Hannah is considering medical school after her undergraduate work, which means she is looking at least eight to 10 more years of school. She jokingly commented that it is a good thing she likes school.
Ultimately, she hopes to be a nephrologist specializing in kidney health and disease.
Her interest in the medical field stems from her own kidney condition. She has had 20 or so kidney stones in her lifetime due to a condition that leaves her unable to absorb calcium properly.
Hannah is applying to Ohio State, John Carroll, Miami, Kent State and Ohio universities in hopes of majoring in biology or biomedical science before going on to medical school. Already accepted to Kent State for her undergraduate work, Hannah said she would like to go to The Ohio State University for medical school.
“That would be fantastic,” she said.
Hannah volunteered at OSU on a weekly basis in a program that required her to help transport patients from one end of the large complex to the other, sometimes even retrieving bags from a car. She could continue with the program next summer, or, if a student at OSU, volunteer year round.
“It’s fun to help even in the smallest way possible,” Hannah said.
Christina Zeller is an English teacher at the high school who is familiar with Hannah’s strength.
“She has learned not to let kidney stones slow her down. Kidney stones, surgery, even having a stent placed in her kidney, and then another surgery — she got through each of these challenges, and grew stronger,” Zeller said.
Despite her challenges, Zeller said Hannah actually feels blessed. “She recognizes that others are faced with even more difficult circumstances and she helps them,” she said.
In fact, Hannah’s unselfish nature allows her to excel as a volunteer at the hospital, she said.
“Her love and understanding brings warmth and encouragement to others who truly need it,” Zeller said. “Even before going into surgery Hannah thought of others before herself; she gave a little boy a balloon she had received because he had no visitors — no one to show him the love and support that Hannah received from family and friends. So Hannah became the love and support.
“Hannah’s courage is something we all can admire,” Zeller continued. “She is not afraid to share her difficult experiences with others. She wrote about her struggle with her kidneys and bravely read her personal narrative to her peers. She is mature beyond her years.”
Besides her volunteer work over the summer, Hannah has also worked on summer assignments for school, completed service club tasks and worked as a cashier 15 hours a week at a Westerville restaurant. She has continued working in the restaurant now that she is back to school, cutting her hours to 10 to keep up with her busy school schedule.
In addition to her academic work, job and her work with the service club, Hannah is also on the school’s swim team and is the team’s captain this year. In her fourth year on the team now, she swims eight hours a week.
In addition to her duties as president of the service club this year, Hannah work with people in the community through the club by coordinating events.
“I’m the go to person,” she said.
She also maintains spreadsheets of members and their hours and the areas where they volunteer. Currently, there are more than 500 members in the club.
Hannah has been a member of the club since her freshman year and an officer since her sophomore year.
Besides taking advanced placement courses in biology, government and composition in addition to French V and calculus, Hannah is also involved in French club, recycling club and the National Honor Society at the school.
She particularly enjoys her composition class, she said.
“It’s fun writing,” she said, adding that she enjoys growing as a writer, and improving her craft.
“Hannah is amazing. I am so proud of her! It is an absolute pleasure having her in my English class this year,” Zeller said.
Hannah said she wasn’t always confident in math.
“I didn’t think I was good at it,” she said, recalling that during her freshman year, teacher Brent Fisher convinced her she wasn’t always wrong. “Since then, I have excelled in math,” she said.
“Hannah is an extremely hard-working, caring individual whose enthusiasm for her academic success is truly contagious,” Mathematics teacher Matthew Jordan said.
She is one of our true scholar-athletes — showing her commitment to success both in the classroom and in athletic competition. In addition, Hannah has given back to the community through her leadership role with the Olentangy Service club. She has successfully maintained a balance of academic rigor in the classroom, athletic distinction and service to others throughout the Olentangy community.”
Zeller said that “Hannah is a personable, responsible, and very bright young woman. She is a straight A student, our Service Club President, and a talented and competitive swimmer. But she is so much more than that. Hannah’s strong sense of self is what sets her apart from other young men and women her age. She is caring and sensitive and possesses confidence, self-direction and independence. Hannah is well respected by her peers and Olentangy High School’s faculty. Her encouraging, supportive personality allows her to illustrate responsibility and integrity time and time again.
“When I think about students like Hannah, I am excited for our future,” Zeller said.
As a senior, Hannah is looking forward to all the end of the year senior activities.
“It will be cool to be a part of that,” she said.
She offers the following advice to underclassmen, “Don’t slack off. Definitely do as much as you can because it will pay off when you apply to colleges.”
Hannah is the daughter of Dawn and Jim Helber of Lewis Center.