Centers of Distinction

August Scarpelli '16

August Scarpelli ’16 is in his first year at Hiram College, but he’s already counting the number of personal firsts he’s experienced as a Hiram student.

The theatre major from Sheffield Lake has performed in his first mainstage play. He’s taken his first exams (and says he’s happy with the results). His peers elected him to Homecoming Court. And during Spring 2013, he’s set to be stage manager for the first time, in the theatre arts department’s spring musical.

At many colleges, he, a freshman, would not be able to experience some of these things until much later in his college career. But at Hiram, August’s experience of hitting the ground running is the norm, rather than the exception.

“Opportunity is everything,” he said. “There’s no stifling here.”

August recognized all of the opportunities that would be available to him the first day he set foot on campus. He felt as though he was first in the eyes of faculty and staff, even before he had made the commitment to attend.

“After that very first visit, there was really no going back, there was no saying I’m going to another college,” he said. “They know you.”

August recalls a conversation between himself and Rick Hyde, professor of theatre arts, the day of that campus visit.

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“Rick sits me down, and he just starts talking, and it had nothing to do with Hiram; it was just about the theatre,” he said. “And sure enough, when I came here the next fall, it was the same thing; we started talking about the same subject, same exact play … almost a year later.”

He said that sort of attention allows students to thrive. Getting to know professors on a personal level makes it easier to ask questions when you don’t understand something, easier to talk about what you want to do post-college and easier to take in the full scope of what a liberal arts education has to offer.

And he knows his Hiram education will make him prepared for whatever life throws at him.

“I believe it will just make me absolutely confident,” he said. “When something comes up, you can just do it. … And I don’t think you get that in many places, where you feel like you can just do something.”

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