For Bethany Fetsko, leaving high school behind will be bittersweet, but she’s ready for the next phase of her life.

“You can reminisce but you can’t get lost in the past, and you have to look forward and see how much opportunity there is out there,” the 18-year-old Forest Hills High School senior said. “Even though I’m leaving everything behind there’s so much out there for me to find and explore.”

Fetsko is among 36 seniors honored by The Tribune-Democrat as Academic All-Stars.

The students were chosen for the recognition by their respective school districts.

A sampling of Academic All-Stars are profiled here.

They include David Schilling, a senior at Blacklick Valley High School; Hana Vish, a senior at North Star High School; Noah Stair, a senior at Hope for Hyndman Charter School; and Fetsko of Forest Hills.

All of the All-Stars are featured in Sunday Living.

Fetsko, who will graduate as valedictorian of her class and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school, said being named the Academic All-Star is an honor for her.

“It seems like quite the achievement,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting this and wasn’t even aware of it, but I am pleasantly surprised.”

Fetsko is active in numerous school clubs including Future Business Leaders of America, Student Council, Spirit Club and the Robotics Team.

“Almost all of these clubs I’ve held leadership positions, so that’s pretty cool,” she said.

“Since my freshman year I’ve been involved with many activities and clubs that the school has to offer.”

With the school’s robotics team Fetsko was named a two-time VEX robotics state champion and world qualifier, and she advanced to the FBLA state competition for network design.

“My parents have been so supportive and have dealt with my crazy schedules,” she said.

“A lot of teachers have gotten me to where I am today. Even back in middle school, teachers were supportive, and in high school my science and math teachers have really laid out the foundation for where my career will take me.”

Fetsko plans to attend Penn State University in the fall and major in astronomy and astrophysics. She hopes to obtain her doctorate degree and work as a research astrophysicist.

“Ever since I was little I’ve had my eyes to the stars and I’ve always been really intrigued by the solar system,” she said. “I have heart set on this, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

She is daughter of Kenneth Jr. and Dawn Fetsko, of Ehrenfeld.

Blacklick Valley’s Schilling said being chosen a scholastic all-star is thrilling.

“I saw some people in grades above me who got this and I hoped that I would be able to get named to it, too,” the 17-year-old said. “I’ve been focused on maintaining my No. 1 spot, so this definitely is something nice.”

Schilling will graduate with a 110.03 grade point average and has been named class valedictorian.

He is class president, a member of National Honor Society and a two-time Challenge Program winner receiving Academic Excellence and STEM awards.

Schilling is four-year letterman in football and a member of the basketball team.

Academically, he’s received awards in language arts, mathematics and social students, and was recognized for highest achievements in calculus, physics and biology.

Schilling has been awarded the Harvard Book Award, Pitt-Johnstown Presidential Scholarship and a $1,000 American Polish Club Scholarship.

“My parents have always encouraged me to do my best and have pushed me to be the best person I can be and I can’t thank them enough for it,” he said. “A lot of my teachers have had a really good impact on me and they’ve taught me what I need to know to be ready for the real world that’s coming up here soon.”

Schilling plans to attend Pitt-Johnstown in the fall and major in computer science.

“I think this is a field that’s going to continue to expand with new technologies coming out,” he said. “It’s very math oriented, I’ve always been good at math, and this is the field I want to go into and contribute to society with.”

Schilling, the son of Dave and Tonya Schilling, of Ebensburg, said he’s ready to leave high school behind and begin the next phase of his life.

“I need a change of scenery, but I’m going to miss this place and it will always have a special place in my heart,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed my high school years but I’m excited to move on to college.”

When North Star’s Vish found out she was selected as the Academic All-Star, she said she was honored to receive the recognition.

“I was surprised because I didn’t know this even existed, so when I was told about it I was really excited,” the 18-year-old said.

Vish will graduate with a 4.23 grade point average placing her in the top 10 of the senior class.

She is captain of the softball and volleyball teams and is on travel teams for both sports.

Vish serves as a class officer, vice president of National Honor Society and secretary for Mu Alpha Theta and Student Council.

“Balancing everything was hard and very stressful at times, but I had to remember to take it one step at a time and be organized and time management was a big key,” she said.

“My support comes from my coaches and teachers and my parents have always been there pushing me to do my best.”

Vish plans to attend the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in the fall and study pre-physician’s assistant with the goal of becoming a physician’s assistant.

“I’ve always excelled in math and science and I like learning about the human body,” she said.

Vish, the daughter of Eric and Michelle Vish, of Boswell, said she’s ready to graduate and get out there and take on the real world.

“It’s bittersweet, but I’m ready for new experiences,” she said.

Hope for Hyndman’s Stair said it’s awesome to be named a scholastic all-star.

“I feel privileged, and it wasn’t something I expected,” the 17-year-old said.

Stair will finish his high school career with a

3.94 grade point average and has been named valedictorian.

He’s been elected to the Bedford County Scholarship Hall of Fame, is class president, a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council and a three sport letterman in baseball, soccer and basketball. 

“My family has supported and pushed me along the way; I have four brothers and have a lot of standards to meet,” Stair said. “My guidance counselor, Stephene Heiple has been supportive and she’s kept me on track.”

In the fall, Stair will attend Frostburg State University to become a physician’s assistant.

“I knew I wanted to join the medial field and after looking into this I knew this was the one,” he said.

Stair, the son of Anthony and Ronda Stair, of Hyndman, said he’s excited to graduate and get out and have new experiences.

“I’m definitely going to miss the sports and my friends, but I’m ready to move on,” he said.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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