SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: ZOE WARD
Health scare refocused senior on what is truly important.
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” —Hebrews 12:1
Whenever she competes for the Worthington Christian track or cross country team, senior Zoe Ward smiles when she toes the starting line.
The distance runner knows how far she has to go and how far she’s come back just to be running again. During her freshman year, Ward was sidelined by a previously undetected heart condition.
“Life is like a race,” said Ward, who recently committed to run for Ohio Wesleyan University. “I truly relied on the LORD’s strength to get me through everything I’ve been through.”
Ward began running when she attended Woodward Park Middle School. The school didn’t have an official cross-country team; they had more of a running club.
“I don’t know where it came from, but I remember just wanting to run,” she said. “I performed pretty well in it for it being my first year and everything.”
When Ward transferred to Worthington Christian in eighth grade, she found that competing for the cross-country team was a way to meet people and make friends.
However, Ward felt like something wasn’t right whenever she competed. Her parents took her in for a doctor’s appointment when the problems persisted.
Ward remembers the feeling of crushing disappointment when the doctor told her she had an abnormal heart rate.
“It really blindsided me, and I just felt devastated,” she said. “I’d say the biggest thing I had to overcome was being taken out of school because I was hospitalized for a week, and it took a long time to recover.
“I realize accomplishments can become like these idols. And if they’re taken away from you, it’s just devastating. I don’t know if I could have gotten through without the LORD.”
The experience did help Ward discover her calling. She said she plans to study pre-med at OWU primarily because of the quality of care she received.
“The nurses and doctors I worked with were incredible,” Ward said. “I decided I want to be in a job where I can impact people’s lives daily. I want to bring joy to people when they’re in a dark time.”
Ward is willing to invest in the lives of others because of the way teachers at Worthington Christian have devoted themselves to helping her. She credited middle school teacher Abby Palmer for allowing her to transition to Worthington Christian when she switched here in eighth grade.
“The one thing that has stuck out to me about this school is the teachers,” she said. “I have always felt the teachers here are invested in me, not just in my education, but in my life personally.
“Teachers here have so much wisdom for our spiritual lives. That is so unique to our school. It’s such a blessing. I feel like this whole team of people is supporting me in my personal, spiritual, and educational life.”