Editor's note: This is the 10th and last of a series of "personality" stories on the Top 10 academic students in the Loudonville High School Class of 2018.
Rachel Weber makes her plans very clear, right on her T-shirt.
"I am in a committed relationship: Soccer," the writing on it reads.
A four-year letter winner for the Loudonville High School girls soccer team, the last two as the keeper (goalie), Weber has been awarded a scholarship to play goalkeeper for the Lake Erie College Storm.
She also will major in biology, on the physical therapy track, at the Painesville college, which has an enrollment of approximately 1,250 students, with the ultimate goal of becoming a physical therapist.
Her opportunity to play soccer at Lake Erie came through her participation in a club soccer team, the Ohio Strikers, whom she has played for since she was 13, in addition to high school soccer and basketball teams.
"I learned about Lake Erie's soccer program through one of my coaches on the Striker team, and he introduced me to the college soccer coach, Irenna Lawrence," Weber said. "That connection led to my scholarship."
Lake Erie College is a Division II university and part of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, along with Malone (where her brother Ryan played football and graduated two weeks ago), Walsh, Ohio Dominican and Findlay.
Her career goal of becoming a physical therapist came to her as a freshman or sophomore, when she started seriously participating in athletics.
"My desire is to help people," she said.
Not surprising, given her career interest, the natural sciences were Weber's favorite classes at LHS, particularly biology, anatomy and physiology taught by Mr. David Spreng. "He brought the subject alive, and made it fun," she said. "I especially liked learning about how the body works, and how all of the different parts work together to make it run."
Weber is the youngest of five children of Jim and Leslie Weber of rural Butler. Home-schooled, like her sister and brothers, until the seventh grade, she has the best academic record of a quintet of very successful students.
The eldest, sister Linda, age 26, is a graduate of Denison University and today works at OARDC in Wooster; Luke, 25, graduated from Muskingum and works at Bi-Con Engineering in Cambridge; Tim, 24, earned an engineering degree at Ohio Northern and works for the Richland County Engineer's Office; and Ryan, 21, just completed a degree in zoology and wildlife at Malone University and is off for a summer internship at the Atlanta Zoo.
Weber and Jarryd Baynes are in a virtual tie for the top academic average at LHS. Rachel missed a perfect 4.0 average by one A-minus in a college level composition course taken earlier this year.
While good grades are a natural for her, she admits "I have to study a lot, especially with some classes that don't come easy to me."
In addition to her soccer, Weber played basketball for the Redbirds for four seasons, earning three varsity letters.
"As a freshman and sophomore, I played froward, but the last two years I moved into the post position," she said. That move helped the Redbirds as a team, as it compiled records of 21-3 and 22-2 the past two seasons, in part through her effort.
Also at LHS, she is a member of the student council and president of the National Honor Society.
She enjoys reading fantasy books like Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, but soccer remains her primary avocation.
"This spring with the Strikers we have practice three nights a week, and play games every Saturday and Sunday, all across Ohio as well as in Michigan and Pennsylvania," she said.