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Southside graduate flies high as an athlete, global volunteer and pilot

Southside graduate flies high as an athlete, global volunteer and pilot

By Angela Morefield

A recent Franklin Central High School graduate is flying high with hard work, hopes and dedication.

Ethan Olnick, a recent Franklin Central High School graduate, is now attending Trine University, studying Social Studies Education. Olnick was a model student, excelling in academics and graduating with a GPA of 3.89. Olnick was a star soccer player for Franklin Central High School and Club Soccer. “My favorite high school memories is when I played soccer with my best friends in high school, and I loved every second of it,” he said. “There are so many memories that I never will forget.”

Olnick played a total of 32 games for Franklin Central High School, with a total of 30 points, 13 goals and 16 shots. He was named player of the game in August 2017, September 2017 and August 2018. In 2000 Olnick played a year with Club Soccer. “We had an undefeated season and won the state championship. We also made it into the group stages of the regional tournament in Saginaw, Michigan,” Olnick said. “It was by far the most fun season of soccer I’ve ever played, and I am so happy I got to do it with my best friends.”

Olnick is also a student pilot and is currently working on his instrument ratings to be able to fly in more circumstances such as low clouds. Olnick took his first flight in September 2017. “Being a pilot is very hard work, but it is also very rewarding; there is nothing better than being up in the clouds, and I have been so blessed by my parents that have given me the opportunity to make my dreams a reality,” he said.

Olnick, a student pilot, took his first flight in September 2017. (Submitted photo)

In addition to studying for his degree, Ethan’s plans for the future include working on what he needs to become a professional pilot.

Olnick has traveled to Uganda twice to volunteer to help and work at the African Hospitality Institute, a school that teaches hospitality to its students.

“For his first trip to Africa (he just returned Tuesday from his second trip), he learned that the hospitality school they would be visiting was in need of a refrigerator,” said Dayna Brady, Grants Administrative Associate from Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars. “He took it upon himself to order bracelets from Mud Love and sell them to raise money to purchase the refrigerator. He raised over $2,000 and presented the school with a check. Of course, the school was ecstatic and couldn’t believe a teenager could accomplish that goal.”

Olnick travels to Uganda to help residents with different things, but most importantly to show them love. They often come from broken homes, or sometimes no home at all. “What most of them need more than anything is to feel like they are special, and are loved, and we try and instill that in them,” Olnick said. “It is a blast.” He also plays soccer almost every day with the students from the school and the people in Uganda. He will get to know the students by hanging out and talking with them. “They are the coolest, most loving people. It is really a special place and I’m am so blessed to have been there,” Olnick said. “I I’m hoping to go next summer. I can’t wait to go back.”

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