- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
Editor's note: Fifth in a series of personality stories on the top 10 academic students in the Loudonville High School Class of 2017.
Not long after being convinced, through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses at Loudonville High School, that he wanted to study engineering in college, Cole Kirkbride selected Ohio Northern University in Ada as the place where he will continue his engineering studies.
"As soon as I visited the campus, I made the decision that Ohio Northern was the college for me," said Kirkbride, son of Chris and Ian Viets of Loudonville and Todd and Lisha Kirkbride of Lexington. "The university is well-rounded, and not huge. You don't get overburdened with prerequisites and can actually involve yourself on an engineering team as a freshman. And the college is dedicated to one-to-one education, with the engineering college seeming to focus on that the most. When I say small, Ohio Northern has 3,200 students, about 400 in the engineering program. And the folks in the engineering program seemed to really care about me receiving a quality education."
Kirkbride also said that the co-op program Ohio Northern operates was a major factor in his decision.
"Engineering is a five-year program, but the fourth year you spend entirely on the job working coop with a company," he said. "You spend your sophomore and junior year getting into actual engineering, and I feel working on a co-op experience will be really helpful."
Kirkbride has a 3.93 accumulated academic average, making him No. 4 of the top 10 academic students at LHS. Asked if he had a favorite subject or teacher at the school, he immediately said, "I like a lot of my teachers. I don't really have a favorite"
His STEM classes were his favorite, particularly robotics, which he took last year, taught by Josh Miller, and the engineering and design course he is taking this year from Dan Weber.
"It is both fun and challenging," Kirkbride said. "We have spent much of the year building a drone, and now that we have finished it, we are setting up projects for it to do. One of the projects is an egg drop, where we will develop a contraption to put the egg in, and then have the drone fly it up to a certain level and drop it. We will continue experiments to see how high we can take the egg and drop it without breaking it. This is a real challenge."
Outside of the engineering classes, he said, "I really like history. I also must study a lot to get good grades. Some subjects require more study than others, like physics for me this year. I have to work really hard at it."
His perfect 4.0 academic average was spoiled by an A- received his freshman year in his first STEM class.
He also is involved in several sports. He has run cross country since the eighth grade, "and I really enjoy it," and I am running track for the first time this year, running the 4 x 800 relay, and the mile and two mile runs. He played basketball and baseball his freshman and sophomore years.
He is also a member of the Leo Club and the National Honor Society at LHS.
He has worked at Stake's IGA since the end of his sophomore year.
His primary hobby is playing the guitar.
"I am self-taught," he said with enthusiasm, "concentrating mostly on rock music. My favorite group is Led Zeppelin, and my goal is to play in a band."
He also enjoys spending time with friends. "I want to do as much as I can with my friends here before we graduate," he said. "I want to enjoy them while I can."
Asked if any one person had a major influence on him, he mentioned his cousin, Tyler Jackman, who went to Lexington High and just graduated from Ohio Dominican University.
"He inspired me because of his strong work ethic," Kirkbride said. "He did very well at Ohio Dominican while also playing football there, and now is enrolled in a physician assistants program."