It is the time of the year for area high school graduations. The Finger Lakes Times already has published some short pieces on students who were selected school valedictorians and salutatorians and where they will be going to continue their academic pursuits.
I certainly applaud those students, but at the same time I find that for many of them, the school thing comes far easier than for others. Being No. 1 or No. 2 in your class takes a lot of hard work, but whether it’s nature or nurture, I don’t know; the top 15 or so often seem naturally gifted.
I was academically challenged. My daughter was in the top 5% of her law school class. Go figure.
Quinton Wormuth-Mundell was not at the top of his class at South Seneca High School this year, but he still accomplished so much.
He comes from a family line where graduating high school was rare. What they often found instead was trouble. According to Quinton, the reputation that comes with the last name Mundell often precedes itself — and not in a good way.
He lived in the Utica area until first grade when a decision was made for him to live with his grandparents in the Ovid area. There were far more opportunities as he got older to enjoy sports such as football and wrestling. He would spend summers back with his mom.
His dad, one of the infamous Mundell trouble-makers, Quinton said, lived in the Ovid area. He died in 2013 after complications from a surgery.
That was the year that Quinton legally added the hyphen and Mundell to his name (Wormuth-Mundell) to acknowledge his dad and his grandparents. He looks at his grandparents — Susan and Melvin Mundell — as the driving force in making him the person he has become today. A lot of his motivation has been to please them because of the appreciation he feels for them basically raising him.
The high school senior has never been arrested and always follows the straight and narrow. He’s never even received so much as a speeding ticket.
Quinton thrived during high school. On many levels he was the “Big Man on Campus.” Easy to say since he wrestled in the 285-pound weight class as a senior. It was a wrestling career in which he won two Section V titles and a third place in the state qualifier meet.
Alfred State was interested in him for football, but he has chosen another path. He will attend Mohawk Valley Community College where he will be back living with his mom and two younger half-siblings. He looks forward to reconnecting and getting to better know all three.
What seems like a bit of irony, the guy with the infamous last name of Mundell, ultimately is looking toward a career in law enforcement.
And what distinguishes him this year from many others are the awards he has received.
He was selected as the “Future Citizen of Tomorrow,” an award given to the person who made a positive impression and difference in the community. He also won the school’s “Sportsmanship” award and the Jack Guinan Award, which honors of everything Jack represented- committed to athletics, loyalty and an overall good person.
Clearly, the 18-year-old is a good guy. Sure the academic awards are impressive, but these types of awards speak to character and commitment.
Speaking of “character,” ever since eighth grade Quinton always wanted to be the school’s falcon mascot. He got that chance, starting as a freshman and continuing through his senior year. His last season, appearing at Falcons girls basketball games, his outfit took on a new look. Quinton simply outgrew the old one. His new stripped-down version gave him more opportunities for cartwheels and somersaults. He is currently trying to recruit a mascot replacement.
He will be concentrating on his studies at MVCC and not playing sports, but he does hope to come back to Ovid during winter break and help out with South Seneca’s wrestling team.
Who knows, he may end up back in a few years as a local sheriff’s deputy. Either way, I think this guy with the big heart will do big and wonderful things in the future.