PT scholar and artist headed east to attend Yale | Class of 2022

Posted 6/16/22

There’s very little that recent Port Townsend High School graduate Elio Wentzel can’t do.

Whether it’s photography, reading, learning new languages, or art in just about any …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

PT scholar and artist headed east to attend Yale | Class of 2022

Posted

There’s very little that recent Port Townsend High School graduate Elio Wentzel can’t do.

Whether it’s photography, reading, learning new languages, or art in just about any medium, Wentzel is not only an artist, but a scholar.

They recently earned valedictorian status — shared as a three-way tie between Wentzel and two other Port Townsend High seniors — and plan to continue their education by getting immersed in liberal arts at the prestigious Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Though they enjoy art in its many forms, a major muse for Wentzel is photography.

“A big passion of mine since middle school has been photography,” Wentzel said. “I think that photography is a very powerful way to communicate ideas.”

After getting their first camera in middle school, Wentzel immediately found inspiration through the art form.

“At this point, photography, it’s been a strong constant for me. It’s so accessible,” Wentzel said. “There’s a lot of merit in taking photos … it really challenges your eye to see things.”

Whether it’s fidgeting with the manual settings to get a better grasp of the craft or finding new ways to capture a subject in a creative way, working with the camera has been a hobby with staying power for the senior.

Photography may be a major passion for Wentzel, but perhaps one of their oldest and most dear hobbies has been reading.

“I love books so much; my mom (Joy Wentzel) is the district librarian in school,” they said. “We would always go to the library together.”

One of the graduate’s favorite books that really was eye-opening for them was “In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Muchado.

The book really spoke on a nuanced queer relationship and the intricacies within that, Wentzel said.

As a member of and strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, the senior is incredibly passionate about the advancement and acceptance of that community, other marginalized voices, environmentalism, and so much more.

Linda Lenz, one of Wentzel’s favorite teachers through high school, aided the graduate in understanding and advocating for the environment and working to counter climate change.

“She’s just so great, she always talks about connecting school to real-world problems and is a huge environmental person,” Wentzel said.

Another impressive way that the graduate finds connection with others is through their constant pursuit of learning new languages.

Wentzel is fluent in Spanish, good with Italian, and is in the process of learning Yiddish in an effort to connect with their ancestry.

“My family definitely has Jewish roots, and I want to rediscover them with my older family,” they said. “I’ve found that language was a really good cultural connection for me.”

Wentzel has committed to Ivy League college Yale University and will attend the institution this fall, looking to broaden their horizons and get immersed in the numerous arts and sciences programs offered there.

The senior is diving into college and looking to try out as many things as possible, Wentzel said.

Although it’s a big step from the West Coast to New England, the graduate has family who lives in the area to help with the transition.

Wentzel is excited by “the thought of living directly in a city … [and] it’s a huge change, but something I will grow from,” they said.

The graduate’s plan is to immerse themself into a wide range of classes at Yale to learn more and more every day.

“I love the liberal arts education and how there’s so much room to explore interesting topics with really smart people,” Wentzel said

Comments

1 comment on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Shoreline59

    Fantastic! Good luck, man!

    Friday, June 17 Report this