Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune
April 28, 2013
After a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Fremd High School student Renata Wettermann traveled there to help rebuild an orphanage.
Later, hoping to make an even longer-lasting impact, Wettermann and other members of her church raised money, collected computers and returned last year to open a lab to teach residents basic computer skills.
Ultimately, she said, her goal is to help individual Haitians develop work skills that could lift them into the middle class.
"People are already starting to talk about starting a business," she said. "That's the hope."
Wettermann's work in Haiti is just one of her many interests.
A National Merit Scholar, the Inverness resident plays badminton and cello, is a private tutor for younger students, has volunteered to help immigrants at the Palatine Opportunity Center and is a four-time qualifier for the state speech competition.
Wettermann, 18, also leads a weekly Bible study at her church, led a seminar to promote healthy body image and self-esteem to younger students and participated in charity events like the Relay for Life cancer walk.
Fremd Principal Lisa Small, head of the Palatine school, called Wettermann "a wonderful young lady. She's just a standout in terms of how she carries herself. She's very positive, very outgoing. She's obviously very organized, and she is constantly on the go."
In the fall, Wettermann plans to enroll in the Rice University/Baylor College Medical Scholars Program in Houston. She hopes to go into pediatrics with a focus on global health. One day, she would like to offer medical services in places like Haiti.
"It gets a little overwhelming at times," she said of her workload, "but everything I do I enjoy."
-- Robert McCoppin