March Student Leader candidates want to go where needed

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

Editor's note: The Patriot Ardmore Student Leader program recognizes high school seniors, nominated by their high school administrative staff, that demonstrate integrity and leadership in school and extracurricular organizations while upholding high standards at the academic level. Each month two student leaders are named, and at the end of the school year the monthly student leaders will vie for the Student Leader of the Year title and a new car provided by Patriot Ardmore.

Student Leader candidates often show a level of strength and determination that seem immovable and the two candidates selected for March are no different. Ardmore High School’s Abby Emde and Healdton High School’s Wade Etter are both fixtures in their respective schools’ student bodies with the wisdom to know that not everything has to be set in stone.  

For Emde, a law career in a far-flung destination could be just as exciting as one in her hometown. For Etter, he wants to go where he is most needed once he becomes a game warden. 

“I guess wherever I feel is calling me at that time,” said Etter. The lifelong Bulldog started his journey in Healdton and plans to travel to Tahlequah and attend Northeastern State University after high school. If his involvement in clubs and athletics has been any indication, Etter said he is still considering a walk-on role in college sports. 

“My family is big on football, but I really love football and baseball,” he said. Etter has participated in football, basketball, baseball and power lifting at Healdton. Aside from his family ties to athletics, Etter said his general love of the outdoors is a big factor in his career choice. 

The Healdton High School senior has a 3.98 GPA and is active in academic and leadership organizations like FCCLA, FCA, National Honors Society, Beta Club and student government, according to his nomination from school administration.  

His family’s interest in staying active stretches beyond athletics and has prompted the senior to get involved in multiple groups and organizations in high school, which as surrounded him with even more positive influences. 

“All my friends are involved in them. I just like to be a part of the school. My sister’s done pretty much all the same stuff and she had a blast during high school with it and I have so far, too,” he said. 

With extensive volunteer projects under his belt, including donation drives and volunteer projects at nursing centers and Healdton Elementary School, Etter said one of the most memorable experiences for him was giving time at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Ardmore at the beginning of his junior year. 

“Me and a couple of friends were talking to these two guys – one guy was from Ringling, I can’t remember where the other one was from – but we sat there and talked to them forever,” he said, adding topics ranged from high school to military to sports. 

Donating time is also important for Abby Emde who said some of her favorite service projects have been at food pantries and soup kitchens. The Ardmore Tiger also spends time at the Ardmore Animal Shelter and is a member of Leaflets and a pom squad captain. 

“I am on the pom squad, so kind of having my own role in the games is really nice and feeling like I’m a part of something,” Emde said. 

She likes the challenge of AP courses and has gravitated toward math classes. With a 4.0 GPA, Emde is also a member of the National Honors Society, a Blue Ribbon Scholar, the Superintendent’s Honor Roll and has been selected as a Lions Club Student of the Month. 

Emde said she will attend Oklahoma State University after high school where she hopes to study sociology and later attend law school. 

“I’m not 100% sure, but it’s one of those things that I’ve had my eye on since I was younger,” she said. 

After law school, Emde’s future remains wide open. The senior who has spent her entire primary and secondary school years in Ardmore is open to nearly any location a career could send her, whether some exotic destination or right back to her southern Oklahoma home town. 

“I don’t particularly know yet. I feel like I’ll just go wherever my path takes me and if it takes me somewhere else, that’s great. If it takes me right back here, that’s great, too,” she said.