Claire Ittner, 18
The Marist School, senior

For many high school students, balancing academics and extracurricular activities is a great challenge. Marist School senior Claire Ittner has succeeded at achieving that balance in a rewarding way.

Claire, daughter of Maura McKenna and Frank Ittner, dedicates substantial time to volunteering, particularly for the homeless population of Atlanta.

For the past two years Claire has been president of Teen WINGS, a community service organization that assists St. Joseph’s Mercy Care Services in offering health care to the homeless and needy throughout the metro area.

Claire works with the other members to organize monthly events. Throughout the year, the group collects toiletries and places them into kits, which the Mercy Care clinics distribute. Teen WINGS also organizes coat, blanket and shoe drives every winter.

“Homeless people are constantly walking, so they go through shoes really fast, and in winter especially it’s really dangerous for them not to have shoes,” Claire said.

Every fall, Mercy Care organizes a downtown festival with food and music that allows attendees to interact with the homeless. Claire said the event has encouraged more people to volunteer to help the homeless.

“I think the most rewarding thing about what I’ve done is getting other people involved just because it’s sometimes hard to get people my age involved,” Claire said.

While community service takes up a great deal of Claire’s time, she still excels at academics. She scored a perfect 2,400 on the SAT when she took it last March for the second time.

“I got my first test back, and I saw what I needed to improve on,” Claire said. “I went to a couple of sessions with a tutor, and he basically gave me strategies and things to improve on.”

When she found out about the perfect score, Claire said she was excited and relieved that she would not have to take the exam again. She also achieved a high score on the PSAT and was named a National Merit semifinalist in the fall.

At Marist, Claire is a member of the Habitat for Humanity chapter and a retreat leader.

Music is also one of Claire’s passions. She has played the piano for 12 years, and she will sing in the ensemble of Marist’s spring production of “Sweeney Todd.”

What’s Next:

Claire has been accepted to the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, but she is waiting to hear from several other schools. Her first choice is Yale University.

She is interested in studying humanities, languages, particularly French, or international relations.