CLIFTON — After watching so many high school seniors miss out on school activities because of COVID-19, Ava Schell wasn’t going to let that happen to her.
“My top priorities were attending my athletic and academic events,” the Yellow Springs High School senior said.
So the day after 17-year-olds were eligible, Schell received the first of two COVID vaccination shots. And it’s paid off.
In addition to being able to play softball and volleyball and cheer for the Bulldogs, Schell was one of 30 to receive a $10,000 scholarship after the fourth round of Vax-2-School winners was announced Thursday. Vax-2-School is an Ohio Department of Health public outreach campaign to increase awareness of the availability and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives to younger Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination, according to the program’s website.
And like many of the winners around the state, Schell had a hard time believing she won.
“My dad (Gregory) called me after school and told me,” she said. “I questioned if it was true. When I found, out I was very surprised because I forgot I had (entered) it. I told all my friends at cheer practice and I got some nice high-fives and congratulations.”
Just being able to be at that practice and other activities showed Schell she made the right choice in getting the vaccination.
“That was a no-brainer,” she said. “I knew for a fact that I wanted to attend those events. Getting the vaccination was definitely something that my parents supported. I believed in it as well. Everyone in my town was getting it. I just felt like there were so many deaths. I felt that getting a vaccine was a smart choice for me.”
Schell, however, is not one bit critical of those who choose not to.
“As far as getting vaccinated goes, to each their own,” she said. “I respect everybody’s beliefs and opinions about actually getting vaccinated. I felt more confident that I was keeping those around me protected. But again, to each their own.”
Schell said she was exposed to some COVID cases but has not caught the virus. She credited the vaccine.
“Either that or I’m just lucky,” she said.
Schell is hoping to attend Wright State and explore its motion picture program, but she said she is waiting to hear from multiple schools. Wherever she attends (as long as it’s in Ohio per the program rules), the scholarship will come in handy.
“I know that it’s an exciting opportunity,” she said. “I can’t really contemplate what college money is like yet. It’s not fully hitting me.”
Schell’s father has an idea what 10 grand can do, though.
“Her dad was 10 times more excited than she was, believe me,” he said, joking that he set a record for consecutive backflips.
Schell likely did a few backflips at cheerleading practice as well. After all, she had 10,000 reasons to be excited.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.