JERRY CITY – When St. Wendelin High School in Fostoria closed its doors in 2017, Aleiya Douglas went looking for a new school.
The then-sophomore said she shadowed at four different schools.
“Elmwood was the one that was most welcoming. I felt like I could connect more to the students in my class there than any place else,” Douglas said. “I wanted to make sure I was going to the right school for me.”
At the other schools, the students made no effort to get to know her, she said.
“It seemed like when I went to Elmwood, they were one of the schools that actually did that for me.”
Students provided information about the school without being asked, “which I thought was really cool.”
Going from a Catholic school, where she attended from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade, to a public school was different: no uniforms, no attending church every week and different rules.
“It was kind of cool having to pick out my outfits,” Douglas said, laughing. “It was weird, you didn’t have to take a religion class anymore … you had to rely on whatever you believed in and there was no one there to tell you you had to believe a certain religion.”
While St. Wendelin focused on Catholicism, Douglas said she does not identify herself as Catholic and it is nice having the option to study the religion of her choice.
“I have a lot of friends who are a lot of different things, which I think is cool,” she said. “I’m still really glad I came here. It’s definitely the best decision.”
At Elmwood, she has participated in volleyball, track and field, and become a member of National Honor Society, student council – her favorite club to be a part of – and prom committee. She also served as class vice president her junior and senior years.
“It definitely stinks,” Douglas said about the cancellation of activities due to coronavirus. “The last three months of high school is one of the most important parts for seniors, so getting everything taken away really stinks.”
Being stuck at home has allowed her to write music and play the piano more.
She recently wrote “You to Thank” and dedicated it to the Class of 2020. The song is posted on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/aleiya.douglas/videos/1158786554474059/.
“It touched my heart that almost my entire grade and tons of people from the school and community and parents, and people from St. Wendelin have viewed and shared it.”
Since being posted April 19, it has had more than 6,100 views.
She also is involved in the show choir and school musicals at Elmwood.
“I think that the musical is probably the thing I was most upset about,” Douglas said about its cancellation.
It was supposed to be “Wonderland High” with the cast of “Alice in Wonderland” in high school. She was supposed to be the lead.
She’s been involved in musical the last three years, had a small part last year in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and got to be Morticia in “The Adams Family” her sophomore year.
Douglas, the daughter of Dionna Brenamen and Scot Douglas, plans to attend the University of Cincinnati with an undecided major. She is going to audition to get into the UC music program, which she said will be difficult.
“I’m really passionate about the performing arts so I would really love to try to get into that.”
If she is not accepted, Douglas said there are plenty of acting classes in the city.
Acting has always been her dream, “to go into either theater acting or film acting.”