Main Street News

Student Feature: Ellie Wolgemuth

By Published On: January 25th, 2024

Elinor (Ellie) Wolgemuth doesn’t know how to not be busy. Ellie, who is a junior at Housatonic Valley Regional High School (HVRHS) in Falls Village, CT, is actively involved in a variety of extracurriculars that keep her busy year-round.

“I have participated in cross country for three seasons and track & field for two, earning me the Cross County Most Improved Player twice,” she explained. “In the off season, I am the stage manager and part of the run crew for my school’s musicals. This theater experience would not be possible without grants from the 21st Century Fund, which has allowed me to also be an intern for two summers at the Sharon Playhouse.”

Additionally, last summer, Ellie also attended the Observational Drawing Pre-College program at Syracuse University and will be taking a course in ancient art at Brown University’s Pre-College program this summer. In the winter when she’s not working on the musical or at her part-time job, she also practices with the Academic Bowl team, which she finds “challenging and exciting.” 

Busy indeed. 

Art internship 

In addition to her lengthy resume, Ellie has also served as an art intern for the Kearcher-Monsell Gallery at HVRHS since her freshman year. 

“In the second week of my freshman year, my art teacher Mr. Prindle noticed my interest in art and asked if I wanted to be an intern,” she explained. “At the time, I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but when the senior who was the only other intern graduated, I found myself in the new and scary position of head intern.”

Being head intern meant that she was in charge of a variety of responsibilities, including hanging and curating shows, interacting with professional artists, handling sales, and running gallery openings – in addition to managing her team of other interns. 

“In my three years of having this role, I have gained so much knowledge. I have not only grown more confident with communicating with experts in the art world, but I have also learned how to present myself in a professional way that will help me throughout college and into what comes after.” 

Travel Club 

Ellie is also a member of the travel club at HVRHS and works with the group that fundraises for the travel club, Northwest Corner: Students Without Borders. 

She has previously traveled to Japan and will be visiting Portugal and Spain in the spring. 

“Through Northwest Corner: Students Without Borders, I have had the ability to fundraise for trips that I otherwise would not be able to afford,” she said. “Traveling to Japan helped me open my eyes to other cultures and parts of the world that are so vastly different from my small town in Salisbury.”

Through her travels, she was able to experience new foods, architecture, and customs. An artist, Ellie also said that traveling to Japan inspired her artistically and “allowed me to return to the U.S. with a multitude of ideas for paintings, drawings, and compositions.”

Traveling is something that Ellie hopes to continue throughout her life. “This part of my life in particular has shown me the importance of travel and how much can be learned from it,” she said. 

Reflecting on opportunities 

Ellie acknowledged the importance of having a wide variety of extracurriculars at HVRHS and how it helps students find their interests and gauge what they want to do for a career going forward. 

“It allows students to broaden their experiences and learn about things that deeply interest them,” she said. “HVRHS is wonderful at providing ways to expand student’s knowledge and help prepare us for what we want to do after high school. Personally, I have made many friends, created heartwarming memories, and learned so much about myself through these opportunities. I feel so lucky to go to a school that is so diverse in the experiences for its students!”

Going forward

Ellie is looking forward to applying to colleges next year. Her goal is to study illustration and combine it with another area of study that interests her, such as environmental studies or anthropology. As such, she’s been using this school year to build up her art portfolio. 

Ellie is also a Gold Key recipient in the 2024 Scholastic Art Awards for her digital art piece, “Dividing Fate.” The piece is one of a small number of submissions from Connecticut that will be judged on a national level. “I’m so surprised and happy to have received this award, and I’m looking forward to seeing the other Gold Key recipients at the CT Regional Scholastic Art Awards ceremony on January 28!” 

Long term, she hopes to use her art to bring awareness to social and environmental issues around the world. 

“I’m not quite sure what specific field I will end up in, but I love the options of working with artifacts in museums, creating art for companies like Marvel or Wizards of the Coast, or doing freelance commissions,” she said. “Regardless of what jobs I have, I am always looking forward to improving my artistic skills and learning more about the history as well as the future of our planet.” 

Ellie with her piece, Dividing Fate, that won a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art Awards.