Olentangy’s Root is a novel individual
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Everyone has a dream, and Raechel Root is no different.
The Olentangy High School senior’s ambition is to attend Columbia University, live in New York City, work as a copy editor for a publishing house and write her own fiction.
“I’m lucky I found something while I’m young and can get to do it for money and not just be a job,” she said of her future goals. “I see myself spending my life in the city.”
New York City is the publishing center of the world, and that is why Raechel sees her destiny in the Big Apple.
But while Columbia is Raechel’s dream school, she also realizes tuition there is a bit pricey. So Raechel is also considering the less expensive alternative of attending Miami University for her undergraduate course work and finishing up at Columbia.
She is also applying to Oberlin College, Kenyon College, John Hopkins University, Bowling Green State University and Emerson College.
While Raechel is excited about the prospect of moving to a city, she said she would like to be able, once she is raising a family, to return often to central Ohio in order to give her children the best of both worlds.
While she primarily wants to write fiction, Raechel said she would also be really interested in writing a travel column.
“I think it would be cool to experience different things,” she said.
Food writing is another area that piques her interest.
“I always liked to cook when I was younger,” she said.
“I was so obsessed with France, so I read a book by Julia Child a couple years ago, and found out that my obsession was not as much about France as about cooking.”
Raechel started cooking more frequently when the book renewed her interest in food. She even invited friends to a dinner party which featured only Child’s recipes, she said.
“I’m keeping a cooking journal,” Raechel said. She’s also keeping a journal documenting her time at high school.
Raechel has taken an online writing course, begun a creative writing club and attended a writing workshop at Kenyon this past summer with students from around the country.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” Raechel said, adding that it was her first English class in middle school that made her realize writing was her passion. Her interest in the written word began when she was only 5, when she had to be quiet during her brother’s nap time. By the time she was 7, reading had become her favorite pastime, she said.
Sarah Zettler taught Raechel in theater and a creative writing class at Olentangy. “She sat through my CP 11 English class while she was in AP Lit, something she chose to do her junior year because she did not want to sit through study hall and do nothing,” Zettler said. “Raechel and I love the written word. As a writer, she is a peer. She’s read both my Young Adult novels. As a member of my target audience, she gave me helpful feedback and insights, many of which I implemented into my novels. That is truly an impactful relationship — when the student and teacher work in tandem to produce works of writing — and have a lot of fun doing it.
“I adore Raechel Root,” Zettler said.
English teacher Michelle Mimna had Raechel as a freshman and again this year as a senior. “It has been lovely to see her grow from a curious and eager freshman to a mature, focused and über-talented and creative young lady,” Mimna said. “Raechel has left her mark on the Olentangy theatre department, having been involved in all the theatre productions, either as a cast member or production staff, with the exception of one play in four years. She is a dedicated student, a brilliant creative and analytical writer, a mentor to younger students and a truly unique young lady.”
Mimna said she has no doubts of reading Raechel’s work in the years to come.
Last year Raechel stage managed all three of her school’s theater productions.
“All my friends are in theater,” Raechel said. In the past year, she also tried her hand at acting. “I thought it would be nice to take a break from stage managing.
“The theater program is a comfortable place,” she added.
David Hinds, theater director at the school, spoke enthusiastically about Raechel.
“Raechel, or Rae Rae as we sometimes call her, is a fabulous person and a great student,” he said. “She is one of the most dedicated and involved young ladies I have ever known. I am always amazed with her organizational skills and her ability to balance a plethora of commitments without letting anyone down. Raechel is always positive, upbeat, and energetic. She’s creative beyond belief, and her enthusiasm is contagious!”
With her busy schedule, Raechel finds time to volunteer during the summer with adolescents who have autism. This has special meaning to her as her brother is autistic.
She also volunteers through the orchestra and theater programs at school, playing violin in nursing homes and teaching a theater workshop to elementary students.
She has played violin since fourth grade and expects to continue playing.
She also still harbors an obsession with France, where she hopes to study abroad.
Raechel said it will be sad to leave high school and her friends, but she is ready to go out into the world.
“I like thinking what life was like the last 10 years, but I’m also excited for things ahead and not knowing what will happen to me,” she said.
Raechel works about 12 hours a week as a page and shelver at the Orange branch of the Delaware District Library. But with theater picking up, she is cutting back on her library hours.
She offers the following advice to underclassmen.
“Your GPA is like liquid gold. It matters so much more than you know; there’s money attached to it,” she said. She also encourages others to be “really open-minded. Don’t shut yourself down to other people and lifestyles.”
High school guidance counselor Mike Naveau said Raechel is an “extremely talented unique, colorful individual, whose future is so bright it comes in multiple shades.”
Raechel is the daughter of Robert and Marla Root of Lewis Center.