Thomas Oatridge has been described as a natural leader and a committed student with an inquisitive mind. He has an impressive resume and a list of numerous commitments despite having to overcome personal challenges.
Oatridge struggled throughout middle school after his parents’ divorce left his mother and siblings in dire financial straits. His older brother and older sister were especially affected, taking a destructive path — and Oatridge had to make a decision of whether to continue the cycle or step up and be a better role model for his younger siblings.
So he put in extra effort to get good grades and stay out of trouble.
“I decided to start excelling and work as hard as I could at everything I did,” he says.
By age 16, he got his first job to help the family financially, and at times worked as many as four concurrent jobs.
Oatridge immersed himself in baseball but soon decided that wasn’t enough because he didn’t want to simply “drift through life.” He became more involved at school, including taking on the role of team manager for boys varsity basketball.
One of his achievements included getting the help of a couple of friends to start a Ping-Pong club. At first, it was about “hanging out with friends,” but the club drew quite a bit of interest. Within two months, it had 50 members.
Oatridge talked to students at several others schools about starting clubs, and shortly after Peninsula High hosted a tournament that brought in 60 players and sold more than $300 worth of admission tickets.
“It was good for the schools to come together. We’re usually rivals in sports but this was more of a fun activity than rivalry,” he says.
Oatridge has also volunteered to coach youth basketball at the Y and other sports camps. But his most time-consuming activity was serving as the ASB treasurer, with his responsibilities ranging from fundraising for the senior class to helping with the ASB budget.
“…It has been an awesome opportunity for him to take on a pivotal leadership role,” says ASB adviser Danielle O’Leary. “I admire that Thomas has innovative ideas, isn’t afraid to take chances, and executes his ideas.”
While helping support his family and sharing much of his time to help others, Oatridge has maintained an excellent GPA. Among the people he credits with helping him overcome diversity are his friends’ fathers, who mentored him and supported him emotionally.
He plans to pursue his passion for environment as a career. Oatridge will attend University of Washington to study engineering and hopes to become a transportation or systems engineer so he can work with alternative fuels.
Category: Overcoming adversity
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parent: Rebecca Crecelius
Activities/Achievements: ASB treasurer, National Honor Society, multiple AP classes, baseball, Table Tennis Club founder and president, men’s varsity basketball team manager, Youth Sports Camp, YMCA youth staff, youth basketball coach and referee, job at Minterbrook Oyster Co.
Favorite teacher: Hans Brockhoff, science, “because of his character and how much he has influenced me to go into a career involving helping others.”
Best thing about high school: the people. “It may not be the most expensive school but it is extremely valuable because of how accepting and loving the staff and students are.”