Ava Keiffer is nervous about stepping into the vast expanse of Donnell Middle School this fall, but after a conversation with this energetic and talented 5th grader and it’s plain to see that she’ll do just fine.
“I’m really scared. I don’t want to have anything to do with it,” Keiffer said, laughing, after taking a tour of Donnell. “It’s so big. But I guess if you know one floor, you know them all.”
Finishing her career at Wilson Vance Elementary this school year, Keiffer’s parents, John and Kristen, are overjoyed with their daughter, the oldest of three children in the family. “Of course we’re so proud of her,” Kristen said. “Whatever she does, she always gives it her all. Going to middle school will be another chapter and whatever she wants to try or do, we’ll totally support that.”
Ava has been in the gifted program, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), during 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. Students must be recommended by a teacher or test into the program, which requires an individual study project. In 4th grade, Ava’s project was on hurricanes, in 5th grade, she focused on allergies.
“It’s challenging but fun,” she said. “I’ve progressed and gotten further, and it helps me with other subjects.”
Ava also found herself competing this spring in the Toledo Blade Regional Spelling Bee, which is open only to students in fifth through eighth grade. In order to get there she had to spell her way to the top among her class, school, county, and finally, region. Though she lost in an early round at regionals, Ava competed against 54 other students. Not bad for her first try!
Well-rounded and poised for the future
Among her other accomplishments, Ava has performed for four seasons in the Hancock County Children’s Choir. This year she sang her favorite song, “Freedom” from the musical Shenandoah, in a Southern accent. She is a member of the Canterbury swim team, and this spring she was excited to complete the Sacrament of First Holy Communion at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. In April, Ava donated her hair to charity Wigs for Kids, for child cancer patients. She also applied to volunteer with the Miracle League of Findlay this summer.
Ava wants to play the clarinet at middle school, plans to continue in the gifted program and one day become an interior designer.
Where does she draw her inspiration? She tells us, none other than…Mom.