GALION -- Galion High School senior Simon Shawk was selected as the Crawford County winner of the Franklin B. Walter All-Scholastic Award, presented by Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center on March 16.
Shawk carries a 4.0 GPA at Galion High School and is on track to graduate with both his high school diploma and an associate’s degree from The Ohio State University in May.
Simon’s parents, Jay and Erin, were at the ceremony and were excited for him when they heard his name called.
“He is such an awesome young man,” Erin Shawk said. “We are so proud of him and truly feel blessed that we get to be his parents.”
In addition to his academic achievements, Simon Shawk is also active in student activities and the Galion community.
Running is a huge passion of his, and he has competed on the cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams, along with participating in choir, show choir, drama, and community theater.
“You can be told that you have achieved great things, and that you are going places, but to an extent, these things are just words, and it is hard to just take them at face value and believe them,” he said.
“However, to go to events like this, and be surrounded by so many supportive individuals who truly believe in you, and who see a bright future for you, is an incredibly powerful experience, and it is not one that I am ever going to forget," he said.
Shawk's achievements haven’t been without some struggles since he was diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disease for teenagers, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
Before seeing a pediatric endocrinologist and getting his medication regimen correct, a process which took more than four years, he struggled with some really tough, debilitating physical and mental symptoms, including inability to sleep, terrible anxiety, lethargy, headaches and "brain fog".
“He kept pushing himself, and that is one of the very amazing things about Simon,” Erin Shawj said. “It was heartbreaking at times and always inspiring because we could see his struggle to simply get out of bed in the morning, let alone do anything else, but he pushed himself to earn all A's, including in all of his college classes.”
After graduation, Simon will enroll at Bluffton University to earn a degree in business, with a focus on marketing. He attributes his success to the people closest to him.
“I attribute most of my successes to the people around me,” he said. “I have an incredibly supportive family and an amazing group of friends, both of which are vital for keeping me focused, happy, and on the right track.”
The Franklin B. Walter All-Scholastic Award was established in 1989 by Ohio’s County Superintendents to recognize student achievement and promote academic accomplishment.
One senior from each of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties receives this prestigious honor each year. Recipients are selected by virtue of their academic achievement, personal accomplishments, and community service.
“This is an incredible achievement for Simon and his family,” Galion Supt. Jennifer Allerding said. “His story is incredibly inspiring and shows the importance of hard work, perseverance, and having a strong support system. The Galion City Schools are proud of Simon and wish him nothing but the best for his future.”
The statewide Franklin B. Walter All-Scholastic Award recipient will be announced during the Ohio Educational Service Center Association Spring Conference on April 27.