Determined to succeed, Seithel pushes to be her best


photo courtesy of Katie Seithel

Katie Seithel (12) holding up the climate sign for Care about Climate.

Almost a year ago, Katie Seithel (12) took the ACT test and got a 34. Five months later, she took it again, but only to score another 34. 

In the eyes of many students and teachers a 34 is a great score. But it wasn’t enough for Seithel. 

One final time, she took the test again at OHS on Oct. 6. And this time, she finally got her perfect score of a 36. 

“I was completely shocked when I got my results, but really excited,” Seithel said. “I strove for the 36 because it was a tangible goal that showed me that improvement is possible, and that hard work (and some luck) go a long way.” 

While she has many achievements in the academic area, that is only the beginning of how far she can go. Seithel’s determination extends to the impact she can have on the world around her. 

Seithel started the OHS Environment Club, but it’s not active right now. However, this setback hasn’t stopped Seithel from helping the environment around her. 

“I first started caring for the environment because of my family’s annual camping trip! It’s been a tradition for the last 60 years to go every year down to Alley Springs,” Seithel said. “But, as I got older, I began to see the human footprint more strongly through plastic waste and the ranger’s lectures on endangered animals. The area is also often hit by floods, which is becoming more frequent due to climate change.” 

In her efforts to help the environment, Seithel volunteers with several organizations to change not only her community, but the whole world. 

“I am a volunteer through the St. Louis Zoo ALIVE teen volunteer program. There, I am the Treasurer of the Board and also the co-founder of Palm In Hand, an initiative that works with the Palm Oil Task Force at the Zoo and lobbies companies to switch to sustainable palm oil,” Seithel said. “I am also a Communications Intern at Care About Climate, which is an international nonprofit that focuses on youth engagement in the climate movement and prepares each year for the UN Climate Change Conference.”

Through these volunteer opportunities, Seithel has only grown in her love for the environment.

I believe I work hard because I have the mentality that we should always be pushing to be the best versions of ourselves

— Katie Seithel

“As I learned about all of these issues and the facts surrounding climate change, I began to realize how dire the situation has become,” Seithel said. “And so, my passion to save the environment no longer stems just from my favorite campsite anymore, but the world at large.”

At the zoo, Seithel has worked in many different areas, including being a camp counselor, leading tours, and dressing up in costumes for events. But her favorite part comes back to education. 

“By far my favorite part of working with these organizations is the educational aspect and the people I work with. At the Zoo, I have the opportunity to work with kids, and I believe that if we begin to teach them about animals and nature while they are young, they will grow up to be environmentally conscious citizens,” said Seithel.  

Seithel’s leadership is not only seen in her volunteer work, but here at OHS as well. She is also the Historian for National Honor Society, the Vice-President of Science National Honor Society, and Co-founder and Vice-President of the Oakville Book Club. 

After graduating, Seithel plans on majoring in International Relations or Political Science in college. She is looking towards the University of Georgetown, but hasn’t made a decision yet. 

“I believe I work hard because I have the mentality that we should always be pushing to be the best versions of ourselves ,” Seithel said. “While I certainly don’t think that is achieved just by a test score, I think it was one opportunity for me to push myself to grow.”