Posted Date: 03/01/2021
Seniors Janine Wagdalt and Evan Xiao have been named Seniors of the Month for February for Union High School, 6636 S. Mingo Road. She is the daughter of Frank and Janneth Wagdalt of Tulsa and he is the son of Jifen Xiao and Yimei Ni of Broken Arrow.
Janine Wagdalt is active in Union Repertory Theatre, Union Avenue Singers, Sustainable U, UHS Today newspaper writing staff, Black Scholars, Interact Club. She has won several awards from Union Drama for her acting including Miss Theatre, Best Actress, Best Cameo and All-Star Cast Award.
“I have been a part of theatre at Union for the last six years of my life,” Wagdalt said. “I am passionate about theatre because it has allowed to me to express myself creatively as well as build connections with the most talented actors and actresses at Union. Together, we’ve put on marvelous productions, made many memories together, and ultimately gained a deeper respect and appreciation for performance art. I am who I am today because of Union Theatre and my immensely gifted directors Mrs. Ericka McGhee, Mr. Tony Schneider, and Mr. Troy Powell.”
Wagdalt describes herself as a leader. “I find it paramount to lead by example in any aspect that I can, and to do so in a way that inspires others to strive for the same greatness that I know is able to be achieved with hard work and determination.”
As she reflected on her time at Union, Wagdalt said, “A class that I feel impacted my education the most at Union was Rexanne McCrary’s AP Language class which I took my junior year. AP Language was very influential for me because not only did Mrs. McCrary create an educational yet enchanting learning environment, but the class itself also ignited a greater passion for English than I already held. Taking AP Language allowed me to further explore my love for English Literature and writing, and I believe I owe my discovery directly to Mrs. McCrary and the wonderful effect she and her class had on me my Junior year.”
Wagdalt is undecided on where she will attend school after graduation but she does plan to major in English.
“I have become fascinated with English Literature--enthralled at the complexity and simplicity in which written language can express the most vulnerable and beautiful expressions of human emotion. I hope to one day be able to set my pen to paper--or fingers to keyboard—and create works as thrilling and exciting as the ones I’ve so enjoyed in my AP Language and Literature classes. I also hope to continue performing -- creating stories on stage with the skills I gained through being a part of the wonderful theatre program here at Union.”
Evan Xiao is active in Sustainable U, Club Carnival, Renegade Regiment Marching Band, Asian-American Club, and as a volunteer for Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Asbury United Methodist Church Second Saturdays, and with child care at local elementary schools. He is a Mr. Union candidate, Junior of the Year in Band, member of Honor Guard, and an AP Scholar with Distinction.
“I believe I am a leader,” he said. “I enjoy helping other people succeed, which gives me a feeling that no tangible reward can produce. With my role as a saxophone section leader, my job is to pass down knowledge to lowerclassmen as well as training the next group of leaders to make the band even stronger.”
Xiao said, “Mrs. Peterson’s AP Calculus class has been the most influential class in my time at Union. Not only did I learn calculus from her, but I noticed she is also patient and cares about her students in time of great need, whether that be emotionally, mentally or with math. As a result, I try to mimic those traits in my everyday life to spread joy and understanding.”
Xiao is an avid weather enthusiast. “I love to storm chase. At a young age, I spent a lot of time by myself and I was naturally attracted to what was occurring in the sky. This passion has stuck with me for many years and will be a possible career for me as a meteorologist.”
Xiao plans on studying atmospheric science and/or ecology and evolutionary biology in college, depending on the school he chooses to attend.