MANHEIM, Pa. (AP) — Most high school seniors head off to college, the military or jobs after graduation.
Colin Wolgemuth, a senior at Manheim Central High School, plans to do missionary work in the Dominican Republic after he finishes high school.
"It's very important for me to do service work, at least for a year," says the 18-year-old from the Mount Joy area. "After that, I plan to go to Bible college, and maybe one day be a minister."
Active and outgoing, Wolgemuth embraces life with great enthusiasm.
Whenever he sees someone who looks unhappy or lonely, he instinctively reaches out to him or her.
"When I see someone who needs a friend, I am sensitive to their needs. You never know what people are going through," Wolgemuth says.
One of the reasons he wants to serve in the Dominican Republic is that he speaks Spanish. He hopes that will help him communicate with people there, while he works on projects such as building churches and leading youth groups.
Eager to travel, Wolgemuth wants to experience other cultures and make friends in other countries. He has already been to Puerto Rico and Guatemala, where he spent two weeks exploring in a van with his family. He also went on a trip to Maine with a youth group from Graybill Mennonite School, where he and classmates spent time on the rocky coast and picking wild blueberries.
"There are so many things to see and do, and I am looking forward to them all," he says, adding that a big highlight of his life was a Mediterranean cruise that took him and his family to Spain, France, Italy and Greece.
Wolgemuth's family includes his father, Randy, and mother, Betsy, who own Koser's jewelry store. He has an older brother Andrew, 21, who is a junior at West Point Academy, and an older sister, Tierney, 19, a sophomore at Washington & Lee College. His younger sister, Jillian, 15, is a sophomore at Manheim Central and plays field hockey.
Wolgemuth is also an athlete, and his sport of choice is tennis. He played on his high school tennis team for three years, and helped his team earn several district titles. He likes tennis because it's a team sport, with an individual bent.
"You are responsible for yourself in tennis," he says. "Plus it's a lifetime sport I can play my whole life."
He also played soccer when he was younger, but admits that shooting up to 6-foot-5 in one summer — a 7-inch growth spurt — affected his game.
Tall and lanky, it took a while to get used to his height.
A member of the student council at Manheim Central, Wolgemuth is treasurer of his class. He is also in the National Honor Society and lists math and Spanish as his favorite subjects. He enjoys singing and has been in his high school chorus.
"My father was a chef who went to culinary school," says Wolgemuth, noting that he shares his father's interest in cooking.
In the kitchen, he makes his own fresh guacamole with avocado and cilantro, as well as fettuccine Alfredo and homemade waffles. He has worked many summers in landscaping and construction. Another idea he has in mind is to one day own an avocado farm — someplace where he can use his Spanish-speaking talents.
"I am still exploring what direction I want to take in life. I just know that it will be serving others in some way," he says.
Information from: Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era , http://lancasteronline.com