The list of academic honors and achievements of Christopher Columbus High School senior Henry Powell is long and distinguished. As a Mas Scholar, Powell is ranked in the school’s top 10 percent. He’s ranked in the top eight percent of his graduating class, has been recognized on the Honor Roll each year and is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta.
Powell also received the Principal’s Award and Superior Science Fair Award for a project he entered in the Miami-Dade County Science & Engineering Fair. The highly recognized science fair project was the culmination of a two-year summer internship under the direction of Dr. Phillip Stoddard at Florida InternationalUniversity.
“We studied the aggression levels of the female Brachyhypopomus gauderio, a tropical fish from South America,” said Powell.
The AP course load Powell has taken during the past four years gives him a great head start as he heads to college in the fall. Powell is waiting for a reply to his admission application from such prestigious universities as Brown, Dartmouth, Washington and Lee, and Wesleyan. Three schools at the top of his list are Amherst College, the University of Chicago and Williams College. The latter two schools not only offer great programs in pre-med, his area of study, they may also provide him the opportunity to continue in his sport of choice – wrestling.
“I’ve been accepted to the University of Chicago and I’m currently talking to the school’s wrestling coach,” Powell said. Powell has been wrestling since he was in the seventh grade. His list of achievements in the sport is also long and distinguished. He won the district wrestling championships three years in a row, the GMAC Tournament as a senior and competed in the state championships, placing fifth in his junior year and third in his senior year. He was named Honorable Mention All-Dade County as a sophomore and Second Team All-Dade County as a junior. Columbus has recognized Powell with such awards as Most Valuable Varsity Wrestler, Scholar Athlete Award and Most Pins Award. This year, he serves as the school’s wrestling team captain.
Experiences during his wrestling career fostered his interest to study pre-med. His long-term goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon. “After repeatedly dislocating my shoulder one season, I had surgery to repair the torn cartilage after the season was over,” said Powell.
“After healing, it felt better and stronger than it ever was.” For four years, Powell has been an elected board member of Students Offering Support, a group that raises money to support local charities. This year, he serves as the organization’s president. During his sophomore year, Powell organized and co-chaired the group’s first annual Bowling Against Bullies, a fundraiser to help South Florida teen Josie Ratley’s family pay for her medical expenses following a devastating bullying incident. Powell also co-chaired last year’s second annual event to benefit various anti-bullying organizations.
Like his father, who plays guitar and was a band member for many years, Powell is a music fanatic. He often wears his ear buds and admits he has an extensive and “freakishly” organized music play list.
“Music is a big part of my life,” Powell said. “I like all genres – classic rock, folk, hip hop and rap – and I have a playlist for every occasion – warming up, working out, studying and sleeping.”
— By Nancy Eagleton