Looks Bright: SCC’s talented Claude Hill III soaks in as much as possible

Published 12:14 am Saturday, April 14, 2018

LAPLACE — Guided by the principle that life is all about the experience, St. Charles Catholic senior Claude Hill III remains actively involved in every facet of high school life as he prepares to pursue a career in neuropharmacology.

Dreams to one day develop medicines resulted from Claude’s interest in cellular biology and experiments performed during a summer course at Tulane University, where he tested the effects of drugs on a rat’s ability to complete a water maze.

Claude Hill III’s work with the Drama Club and roles with High School Musical and Seussical the Musical were some of his more memorable pursuits.

Having been accepted to more than 20 schools, Claude has a lot of options ahead of him.

Columbia, Brown, Emory, Duke and Tulane are strong contenders, but the choice comes down to which school best facilitates his personal growth.

“The people you meet change you and your perspective on life,” Claude said. “I’m ready to meet a bigger pool of people, learn from different cultures and grow as a person.”

Collecting experiences and perspectives is Claude’s philosophy. As soon as he walked through the doors of St. Charles Catholic as a ninth grader, he was ready to join as many groups as possible, all while maintaining a spotless academic record.

Claude has played tennis, participated in drumline and performed on stage for three years and ran track for two.

Serving as Treasurer of Stage Hands Drama Club and taking on the roles of Ryan in High School Musical and a Wickersham Brother in Seussical the Musical were memorable pursuits, Claude said.

Claude also serves as Student Council Body President and Mu Alpha Theta President. His 4.8 GPA has allowed him entrance to National Honor Society, Beta Club and National Society of High School Scholars, through which he serves as an ambassador.

He’s been identified as a Wendy’s Heisman State Finalist and a Chevron High School Scholar Athlete of the Week. From May through June, the community can watch Claude on Channel 9 as part of his WAFB Best of the Class — SCC student designation.

After submitting a three-minute video explaining challenging STEM concepts, Claude placed in the top 20 percent in the nation in the Breakthrough Challenge Video Contest.

With a fiery personality, Claude loves to talk but knows when to hold back and stay modest.

Melanie Lohfink has taught Claude English for three years, and she’s gotten to learn his personality and sense of humor through his writing.

She said one of his greatest attributes is that he never relents to negativity.

“Claude doesn’t have breakdowns in class like other students might when they have heavy burdens to carry,” Lohfink said. “He’s focused, and he takes care of what he has to do and has turned in assignments early despite all he has going on.

“Claude is a meticulous student who always knows what’s going on and what’s coming ahead,” Lohfink said. “He’s a great planner, which is important because he’s involved in so much stuff. You can’t be successful without that balance of responsibility and planning.”

Claude said planning is crucial, but balancing his activities comes naturally.

“People think that I do a lot, but I really enjoy everything that I do,” Claude said. “I think if you enjoy what you do, you always find a way.”

The son of West St. John High School Principal Claude Hill Jr. and Dr. Juanita M. Hill, supervisor of student information services, accountability and testing for the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board, Claude has grown up in an environment emphasizing the importance of education.

Dr. Hill described her son as a respectable, kind and honorable young man, adding she and her husband are proud of all of his achievements, both academically and athletically.

She cited his self-discipline, optimism, determination and humility as qualities that make him successful.

Claude said his biggest inspiration is older sister Lela Hill A pre-med student at Tulane University, Lela set a high bar for Claude to follow.

“She was the high school student,” Claude said. “She played sports, had a 31 on the ACT, was salutatorian and she was good at everything she did. I would still be determined, but I don’t think I would be as determined if it weren’t for the high bar she set.”

When he fell short of his sister’s legacy by scoring a 24 on his first ACT, Claude was left discouraged.

The most rewarding achievement of his high school career came after a lot of hard work and three additional test sessions, when he fought to bump up his composite by eight points to 32 and join his school’s ACT 30+ Club.