By GIUSEPPE UNGARO
Oliver Thiel is willing to do whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the swimming pool, on stage or in the classroom, the Holy Spirit High School senior will not only make it work, he also will excel in seemingly every aspect of his young adult life.
Every minute of the Old Cape Recycling featured scholar athlete’s daily calendar is filled with academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and — only because he has to — some sleep.
“First and foremost, academics is my No. 1 priority,” Thiel said. “With swimming and my extracurricular, I love doing all that stuff, but growing up my mom (Maria Evidente-Thiel) was strict with academics being first.”
Thiel has lived up to that philosophy. His grades are among the best in his class. Despite the full schedule, which sometimes starts at 4:30 a.m., Thiel has committed himself to his academics and his future, holding steady at No. 3 in his class, a ranking he has held since his sophomore year.
Thiel, who is also in the school play and choir, swims the 100 butterfly, 50 freestyle and will also swim the 500 freestyle when called upon for a Spartans team that qualified for the playoffs.
“I love the team and I love what I do, so I have to keep my grades up and will do what I have to do,” Thiel explained. “That is my philosophy when it comes to grades.”
“One of his strengths is that he is willing to try new things and make sacrifices that are rare for some kids, especially in their junior or senior years,” said Holy Spirit boys swimming coach J.R. Henry.
Trying new things is something Thiel likes to do. He credits his father, Joseph, for an optimism and willingness to be a well-rounded high school student. The Spartan swimmer didn’t blossom in the pool until after spending a few years on the Brigantine City Beach Patrol.
Although he admits to joining the school play as a freshman after a senior girl told him he was cute, Thiel enjoys activities outside of the classroom to be part of something bigger than himself.
“I join a club to be part of a team and I try to support the team as much as possible,” Thiel said.
When he is not in the pool or studying, Thiel can be found singing in the choir or on the stage as part of Holy Spirit’s annual musicals. This year, he will be part of the cast of Beauty and the Beast.
A couple of times, Thiel’s singing talent came in handy on the pool deck.
“We were at a big meet last year at (Gloucester County Institute of Technology) with 1,000 people in attendance. It was interesting because the music wasn’t working and they needed someone to sing the national anthem,” Henry said. “He is a great singer. This year, he did it again at Oakcrest. It was the best part of the meet.”
As much as Thiel loves broadening his interests outside of class, the senior learned during his high school career to cut down on some of the activities to make sure his grades meet his own expectations.
Thiel, who is mostly in Advanced Placement classes, expects to eventually go to law school. In the meantime, he has applied to some of the nation’s most prestigious schools, including the University of Pennsylvania and University of Southern California.
Wherever Thiel enrolls in the fall, expect him to keep his grades up while also taking advantage of all that college has to offer. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
Contact Giuseppe Ungaro: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDgisepu
By GIUSEPPE UNGARO