A Patent, a Thrift Store and a Band: Highlights from the Class of 2021

Sarah Mazer ’19, Senior Reporter 

Introduced by Vice President for Enrollment Management Stefanie Niles at convocation on August 27 2017, the class of 2021 is highlighted by a number of exceptional students, including inventors, musicians, writers, athletes and entrepreneurs.

Suzanne Arenal ’21 is a Paralympic sprinter who competed in the 2015 World Championships in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. When Arenal was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, she had to rely on braces and a walker. She discovered the potential of running to improve her disability, and grew to love the sport.

“I love running just as it is, but the fact that it also helps with my disability is a really cool thing,” explained Arenal. Arenal loves that Paralympics for its ability to “inspire people and show that anything is possible.” She is continuing to train and will be competing next at the 2019 World Championship in Peru.

Judeon Chu ’21 received a patent for his idea for altering the material used in South Korean apartment floors. To address the problem of poor soundproofing in apartment buildings, he proposed the use of fabric rather than the usual PVC material. Chu stated that he is “currently in negotiation” with major Korean companies and is in the process of commercializing his idea.

Carl Hamilton ’21 started his own jazz band “Carl and the Hamiltones.” Hamilton started his first band in 9th grade and formed “Carl and the Hamiltones” in tenth grade. The band plays at retirement homes and at the Lansdale Farmers Market.

The band has “been a great way for me to get together with my friends and have a great time playing music. We’ve collectively learned a lot about how to run groups, how to deal with the music, and how to rehearse,” stated Hamilton. At Dickinson, Hamilton is involved with the jazz group, orchestra and jazz combo group.

Varsity tennis team members David Weltz ’21 and Jose Bolaños ’21 each received national rankings in their respective countries. Weltz, New Jersey native, was nationally ranked by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and Bolaños received the second highest ranking in El Salvador.

After moving to South Africa in eighth grade, Frances Staples ’21 worked with several of her classmates at the International School in Johannesburg to develop a care center for orphaned children. Staples and her friends would “visit the orphanage and try to brighten their days” in addition to engaging in fundraising efforts. The center, which is a part of the Okavango orphanage system, serves children aged three to twelve. Frances was instrumental in developing the center, which opened during her senior year of high school.

Michael Ayeboafo ’21 is an accomplished boxer and winner of the 2017 Golden Globes and 2017 Novice Award.

“I am looking forward to continuing my boxing career… right now it’s been on hold for college but I’m looking for [a] gym, and during breaks I’m definitely planning on entering tournaments and getting some fights in,” he explained.

Lucille Papile ’21 has been a published author since eighth grade, when a Connecticut student anthology published her poem focusing on abortion. She was published again during her junior year with a piece called “The Lost Explorer” which explores the idea that people “lose their love of nature and start to see it as just another thing in our way.” Following this same theme, she wrote an essay published by a scholarship organization about the need for recess at the high-school level.

Louis Inghilterra ’21 founded his own “thrift store” called “Take it or Leave It” at his New York boarding school. When moving out of the dorms at the end of the year, Inghilterra noticed that students would frequently throw away high quality items, including a six-hundred-dollar blazer he once saw left in the trash. After a year of negotiating with the administration of his school for a system to prevent this type of waste, “it all came together and became a very successful business.” All items at Take it or Leave it are free, and the “shop” has continued to run following Inghilterra’s graduation.

Jonah Skeen ’21, also known as “JJ Skizzle,” is a self-taught singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. He started his first band, InMotion, while in middle school and recently played a reunion show and recorded an EP with the band. Throughout high school, he played solo concerts and was a member of a comedy band. Skeen also recorded music under his own genre, “americanatronica”, which he describes as “a mix of folk and electronic” music.

In her convocation speech, Niles addressed the class of 2021 as “exceptionally talented, diverse, multifaceted and dynamic.”  She lauded each individual’s, “unique talents and experiences,” and she encouraged them to “hone and expand them as an active participant in this dynamic community.”