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Aiming for diplomacy, or the medical field

Apr. 5, 2013
 
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Ellie Battino, left, helps Melese Klinner with his schoolwork at the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area. / T’xer Zhon Kha/Gannett Central Wisconsin Media

About Ellie Battino

Age: 17

Residence: Stettin

Parents: Drs. Ben and Jill Battino

School: Wausau West High School

College plans: Battino plans to attend Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where she expects to choose a science or political science field of study.

Hobbies: Running, playing piano, volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area

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STETTIN Ellie Battino knows she sounds a bit idealistic, and maybe even a bit naive, when she says she wants to “save the world” or “make the world a better place.”

But when she talks in those kinds of terms, “I don’t mean it in this huge, crazy big picture way,” she said. Instead Battino, a 4.0 student at Wausau West High School, simply tries to make something her mother has been telling her for years a daily personal goal.

“She’s really big into being kind to everyone, and says, ‘If you’re not kind, you’re nothing,” Battino said. “It’s not always easy, and I’m not saying I do it all the time, but I try.”

Battino does more than try, said Jeb Steckbauer, principal of Wausau West High School. She is part of the West’s Safe School Ambassador program, which trains students to help others be aware of the impact of bullying and teasing. Battino has been part of the effort since she was a freshman.

“She shares stories of how she has included students who have been left out, defended students who were teased by others or helped others see the harm they were causing by bullying,” Steckbauer said. “When necessary, she has had the courage and conviction to take things a step further. (Ellie) came to me to report a situation where she felt a student was targeted unfairly regarding her sexual orientation. It was courageous because it implicated a staff member.”

Battino also has an impact beyond West’s walls. She volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area, where she helps kids study, or exercise in the gym. It’s an effort that she really enjoys, and another place where she sees the effort to reach out and help others pays off.

It all leads Battino toward one of two career choices. She thinks she would like to be either an attorney and a diplomat, or a doctor and enter the public health field. Her yearning to help others fits in both.

She loves science and her favorite class is AP chemistry. “It just blows my mind, sometimes,” Battino said. “It was so interesting to take pieces of things that help you understand the whole.”

On the other hand, she also is intrigued by classes like economics. “The economy is this thing we invented, but it’s like this animal we can’t control,” she said.

Battino couples that deep interest in how things work with a will to work hard, Steckbauer said. “She has a really awesome internal motivation, a motor,” Steckbauer said. “And she has very strong goals.”

Battino has the abilities to be a world changer, Steckbauer believes. But for now, she’s just eager to get to college, learn more and find the best path to make the most difference.

Keith Uhlig can be reached at 715-845-0651. Find him on Twitter as @UhligK.

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