Faces of Roger Bacon
Class of 2022
Senior Ellie Rickenbaugh was fairly certain which high school she’d be attending, and it wasn’t Roger Bacon. As an eighth grader attending St. Andrew – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Milford, Ellie had her sights on an all-girls school. “My family has a good friend that is president of this other school, and my dad was actually more involved there at the time. I just always thought that is where I would go,” says Ellie. Beginning with Roger Bacon’s Celebration of Success, she started to change her mind. “I’m the 4th generation of my family at RB, but honestly, for most of my life I never even considered Roger Bacon to be an option. I went to Open House and shadowed just for fun and to appease my dad, and was shocked with how quickly I absolutely fell in love with the school. My dad likes to say that ‘Roger Bacon is truly unlike any other high school in the city,’ but he honestly is 100% correct, and the Spartan Spirit that every student and teacher exhibits is clear the second you step into the building. I felt this at Celebration of Success, and realized this was where my heart was,” shared Ellie.
Ellie has loved her four years at Roger Bacon. She is a member of the Assisi Scholar Program and the National Honor Society. Ellie is also a four year member of the Academic Team, where she served as captain her junior and senior year. She is a member of Student Senate, where she serves as communication chair, and is part of the RB St. Vincent de Paul Conference. After playing freshman volleyball, Ellie moved over to tennis, where she made All-GCL Honorable Mention her sophomore year, and served as captain her senior year, making second team All-MVC. “I’ve loved the tennis team. Even though we don’t have the biggest or best team in the city, we definitely have the most fun. Leading the tennis team the past few years has been a labor of love for me, and I am so proud of the progress we have made and the way the tennis team has moved up in the school ranks and recognition,” says Ellie. Ellie’s promotion of the tennis program was so successful, RB now has a tennis club that she helped found.
Ellie is also very appreciative of the impact the Assisi Scholar Program has made on her. “The Assisi Scholar Program has been one of the most rewarding of my life. The academics have been very strong, and helped me achieve so much toward my future goals, from scholarships to college and AP credits, but it’s this other part of the program, the part that makes it so special, that I am so thankful for,” shares Ellie. “The pilgrimage to Italy was incredible and life changing. Maybe the most important takeaway, though, is the friendships and relationships I have made with my peers and my teachers.”
One of the things about Ellie that sometimes surprises people is her love of all things STAR WARS. “I think most people I’m close to know by now I am a huge Star Wars nerd. One of my favorite things at Roger Bacon has been checking in with Doc Wittekind, my AP World History teacher, every week as new episodes of The Mandalorian or The Book of Boba Fett would drop. It is just another thing that makes RB so special is that our teachers love to connect with us as people as much as students,” explains Ellie.
As is often the case, Ellie has had many memorable teachers at RB, but one does stand out. “I have had a great privilege to know so many wonderful teachers at Roger bacon. I love Doc, Mrs. Romolo, Mr. Smith and Ms. Christoff, “ shares Ellie, “but I think my favorite has to be Mr. Hetzer. I’ve actually only taken one of his classes, AP Biology my junior year. I loved his class, though, and he is also my tennis coach, and probably the best baker (great cookies!) at RB. My friends and I always hang out in his classroom when we get to school early, and I know he will always support me, even after high school.”
When asked to discuss an “Only at Roger Bacon” highlight, Ellie is quick to recall a special moment her sophomore year. “Ms. Christoff was a teacher we all fell in love with, and as Christmas approached she was talking about missing her family, and how our freshmen class was her ‘new family.’ So my friends and I for Christmas created a family photo album for her that not only included current photos of us, but photos and memories from when we were little kids as well. She loved it,” explains Ellie.
Despite the hiccups that COVID-19 created sophomore and junior years, Ellie has enjoyed a memorable senior year, and looks forward to finishing strong. As Ellie shares, “I can’t believe we are at the end of my senior year, and so many milestones from the Assisi pilgrimage to prom are over. I am looking forward to the rest of the senior activities, like the Powderpuff football game, the Assisi Scholar dinner, and the senior lock-in. I also am looking forward to a restful summer before I jump into craziness of college. I really want to make sure I make the most of the time I have left being so close in proximity of my best friends.”
Ellie is excited to be attending Loyola University – Chicago next year on an academic scholarship, where she will study anthropology, with the intent to attend law school down the road. Like Roger Bacon, it was unexpected, but a school that called to her. “I loved the campus, and the academic reputation. I also love Sister Jean, and the strong, faith-based feel of the school community. It feels a lot like Roger Bacon,” says Ellie.
When asked why prospective students should consider Roger Bacon, Ellie gets right to the heart of the matter. “It is pretty simple, we have Franciscans, the Assisi Scholar Program, underwater hockey, and the best french fries in the city, no one but Roger Bacon can say that!”
"Ellie is such an asset to Roger Bacon. She brings an abundance of energy to Academic Team, innovative ideas to Student Senate, and effort & intellect to Anatomy class. She is a natural leader who brings joy and comfort to everyone she encounters during her day. It has been so rewarding seeing Ellie develop into the incredible person she is today – and I know she is destined to do great things in her life. We all feel blessed to have gotten to know her the past four years; RB will miss Ellie immensely!"
- Steven Smith, Science Department / Academic Team Coach