Wauseon senior Taylor Vernot’s passion for learning began at a very early age. Actually, she can trace it back to the very beginning of her academic career.
“Kindergarten was the start of my love for school.” She confessed.
And the word love, which is often overused or exaggerated in the English language, is exactly what Vernot means when she says it.
“The first day we had a cancellation, I cried.” Remembered Vernot.
That preoccupation for the academic system has culminated in the senior girl earning one of the more prestigious distinctions an outgoing high school student can receive; The Walter B. Franklin Award. During her time at Wauseon, Vernot has been quite involved in school activities, competing at the State level on both the cross country and track teams, participating in the National Honor Society and Student Council, counting herself as a member of the French and Art Clubs, taking part in Mock Trial, and being a member of the Girls Christian Fellowship, all in addition to being an exceptional student.
Yet, when it came time to select a teacher for whom to tribute her success, her thoughts went back to those early days in Mrs. Wilhelm’s classroom.
That would be Julie Wilhelm, who still teaches Wauseon Kindergarten students today. The veteran educator was moved when she discovered the impact she had on Vernot.
“It was a blessing to have somebody remember me from so long ago.” Wilhelm spoke with emotion. “To be honored by her meant the world to me.”
Wilhelm remembers her former pupil well. According to the teacher, Vernot was quiet in her younger years. Yet she was never afraid to raise her hand when the time came to answer questions. The kindergarten instructor also recalls her being the considerate sort.
“She always cared for others as much as herself.”
In her tribute to Wilhelm, Vernot spelled out just how much her time learning at Wauseon mattered to her. This also struck a chord with the educator.
“Just to hear her words on what school means to her, not just me but all her teachers,” Explained Wilhelm, “it really touched my heart.”
Vernot will take her love of education with her when she sets out for the University of Dayton in the Fall, where she will pursue a Pre-Med degree. Then she plans to choose a medical school as she works to become a doctor.
And even then, she’ll still be thankful to have learned how to learn from Mrs. Wilhelm.
T.J. Hug can be reached at
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