July 24, 2014 at 4:05 AM
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - After attending public school in South Plainfield up until eighth grade, Mike Olano decided that it was time for a change.
After discussing it with his parents, he decided that he would go to Wardlaw Hartridge High School because of the emphasis that the private school places on academics and trying new things.
Olano got himself involved in sports and various school clubs in high school to make himself a more versatile student.
"My motivation to try new things comes from my parents," Olano said. "They always say to do as many things as possible to see what you like, and I really like that. I like being good at a lot of different things and it allows me to be friends with different types of people."
He joined the baseball team and the swimming team, but always favored baseball more because he's loved it since he was a kid. Olano was named captain of the baseball team his senior year and captain of the swimming team his junior and senior year.
"Baseball has always been a part of my life," Olano said. "I really like the team comradery. Being an athlete teaches me to be more willing to share and be tolerant of other people's strengths and weaknesses."
Olano was the secretary of the Captain’s Council, an athletic club where all of the team captains meet and discuss their responsibilities as leaders and other related matters. The club would also help out kids with special needs through a program called Buddy Ball where they would help the kids learn various sports.
He continued his leadership role as the blood drive ambassador where he ran and organized two blood drives per year at the school.
While staying involved in school clubs and organizations, Olano always stayed focused on his academics because he knew that it would be crucial to getting into a good school where he can achieve his goals.
He was inducted into the Cum Laude Society which encourages and recognizes exceptional scholarship by select students in their junior or senior years.
Olano also managed to find time to write for the school newspaper, "The Beacon", take on lead roles in the school plays and travel to Spain with the rest of the Spanish club.
He gained an interest in languages during high school where he took Spanish and Chinese, and is almost fluent in Spanish. Olano wants to continue to work on his Spanish when he attends the University of Richmond in the fall. He plans to minor in Spanish and major in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business.
Olano is looking forward to living on his own for the first time and tackling his dreams at Richmond.
"I really want to be a CEO for a company," Olano said. "I don't know which one, but definitely a big one. I really want to work for a company where I can be an ambassador to Spain."
Olano is currently a manager at Woodside Swim and Tennis Club in Edison, where he worked as a lifeguard during the summers in high school. Before he heads off to Richmond, he has been busy attending graduation parties and hanging out with his close group of friends.