BY JENNIFER CROWLEY
In what has to be a first for the Wheatland-Chili Central School District, this year’s top two graduating seniors, valedictorian Madeline Jewell and salutatorian Erik Schroeder, are neighbors. Beyond sharing near proximity on Scottsville’s idyllic Rochester Street along with impressive academic records, both students were closely involved with Wheatland-Chili’s Drama Club over the course of their high school careers.
Jewell, daughter of Tom Jewell and Heather Sprague, left her mark on the Drama Club with prominent and memorable roles in the last several spring musical performances. She most recently played Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical where she easily embodied the character’s sweet and sassy sides. Jewell was also active in band and chorus yet made time for sports. In addition to playing Tennis, Jewell was on the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team that went to the New York State semifinals four straight times (winning in 2016 and 2017, her sophomore and junior years).
Academically, Jewell participated in many Advanced Placement classes including US History, Calculus, Biology, and Literature. She also belonged to the school’s Principal Cabinet and participated in Student Council and as a class officer.
Jewell is attending SUNY Geneseo in the fall to study psychology. She credits the late Jill Skivington Jackett as influencing her in many ways. “The depths of her energy and kindness have always been inspirational to me. Knowing her led me to the field of psychology, and the idea that I can combine my love of theater and teaching children to act into my career,” offered Jewell.
Not surprisingly, Jewell offers her time spent preparing for the musical Hairspray her freshman year as her top high school memories. She says that she will truly miss the strong sense of community that is a uniquely Wheatland-Chili experience.
Like Jewell, Schroeder was active with the school’s spring musical. In fact, Schroeder’s post high-school career plans are rooted squarely in music. “I am currently planning to study baroque violin and historical performance either at the Mozarteum Universität in Salzburg, Austria, or at Oberlin Conservatory,” he explained.
Schroeder is the son of Brian Schroeder and Silvia Benso. Though their son was active with sports and other clubs over the course of his high school career, it was an intense passion for music that led Erik to a number of amazing opportunities. “I was a member of the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra and toured with them in Spain and Portugal in 2018.” Schroeder attends Hochstein for his violin studies; his baroque violin studies take place at the Eastman School of Music.
Academically, Schroeder found opportunities to advance his interests in music and culture by taking college-level courses in Music Theory, Italian Language and Culture, and Studio Art, as well as Calculus, History and others. Earlier this year Schroeder received the Superintendent’s Award. He previously received the Walter J. Holloran Memorial Scholarship following a competition at the Hochstein School of Music.
As for what inspires Schroeder, “My parents, teachers, and mentors, especially my violin instructors, Marcos Kreutzer and Boel Gidholm. In my own performance and compositions, I am inspired by the great artistic achievements of past centuries,” he offered. His favorite high school memory is the, “feeling that comes with the final bows of a spring musical performance.” A for what he will miss most? “Sharing jokes and laughs with my closest friends.”