By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Crestline resident Chase Wolfsohn had a good role model in his sister, Taryn. She was valedictorian of the Rim High Class of 2015. Chase has followed in her footsteps, achieving the top position in the Class of 2020.
“She helped pave the way,” Chase said of his sister. “She suggested what classes I should take and helped me learn better study techniques.
“She has been helping me since seventh grade, when I took as advanced math class.”
The Wolfsohn family moved to Lake Arrowhead when Chase was just 2 years old; two years ago, they relocated to Crestline. Chase attended Lake Arrowhead Elementary School, Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School and then Rim High.
Chase has always loved writing. Last year, in talking about his bringing the high school’s newspaper back to life, he said, “I love to put together words. It’s amazing that you use the same 26 letters but the way you put them together can be inspiring.”
He took it upon himself to form the Journalism Club and assemble a staff for The Scots’ Scroll last year as a junior. This year, Chase said, they put out six issues prior to the school year coming to a halt. “We tried to do an online version,” he said, “but that proved to be difficult. The writers have embraced this break.”
He is uncertain as to the newspaper’s future without him at the helm. “There are only three underclassmen,” he said. “I’m trying to convince them to continue.”
In the fall, Chase will head to the East Coast, where he will attend Emory University. “My dad was doing research on English programs,” Chase said. “He found that Emory has one of the best programs in the country.”
After visiting the campus last summer, Chase knew it was the school for him. “I loved the campus and Atlanta,” he said. “I love the warm, welcoming Southern attitude.”
Chase plans to become a high school English teacher. “I love teachers,” he said. “They can have such an impact. I have seen what my Mom does with her students.” Chase’s mother is a fourth-grade teacher at Valley of Enchantment Elementary School.
He pointed to several teachers as having been influential in his high school career: Mr. Olson, his AP calculus teacher; Mrs. Erlanger, his English teacher, was “really inspirational”; and Eric Newcombe, who Chase had for history in his sophomore year. “He was one of the best teachers I ever had,” he said.
But Chase is not abandoning his love of writing. “I would love to be an author someday,” he said, adding that young adult fiction is his favorite genre to read. “Young adult books get messages out to young people. They can help kids determine who they want to be.”
In addition to the newspaper, Chase was on the Rim High debate team and, this past year, he participated in the journalist competition for the mock trial team. “I got to write about cases from a journalist’s standpoint,” he said. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and Interact, the Rotary program for high school students.
As for the school year ending so abruptly and the seniors missing out on so many activities, Chase said that it is “sad and disappointing but Rim is doing a great job of accommodating the seniors. I’m appreciative of that.”
His understanding is the school is going to try to hold a prom over the summer and have a yearbook signing event.
He will have the opportunity to give his valedictorian speech at the graduation ceremony on June 4. He was writing, Chase said, “something that speaks to the students but isn’t too cheesy.
“I’m really excited to move on to college,” Chase said. “I know it’s hard for some people to leave high school behind but I’m ready to go on to the big city.”