Oxford Area High School students Jacob Billings and Caroline Hamilton were honored as Oxford Rotary Club Seniors of the Month for March. Both have overcome health challenges to make outstanding contributions to their school and community.
Jacob, son of Laura and James Billings, was born with McArdle Disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Though the condition limited his physical activities, Jacob has enthusiastically participated in music and arts programs throughout his years in Oxford schools.
Jacob has been a student in the Academically Talented Program since second grade and has taken AP art courses in high school, specializing in portraiture. He has participated in every high school production since his freshman year, recently playing the role of Sarge, the lead dwarf in the musical “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He played a dual role in last year’s “How to Succeed in Business” and was prominently featured in “I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Jacob sings in the chorus and is a three-year member of the choral ensemble. A mutli-instrumentalist, he plays in the guitar ensemble and is a percussionist in the concert and marching bands.
Jacob is a two-year member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and president of the Art Club. He has participated in the Chester County Futures Program since eighth grade.
This fall Jacob will attend West Chester University to study music education in preparation for a career as a high school music teacher or college music professor.
Caroline, daughter of Christine and John Hamilton, is president of the of high school’s chapter of National Honor Society and a member of the LEOs Club of Lions International, the Helping Hands community service club and Future Business Leaders of America. She sings in the chorus and played French horn in the concert and marching bands in her freshman and sophomore years.
A gifted athlete, Caroline has participated in track and field, cross-country and basketball since eighth grade, with a dream of one day becoming an Olympic runner. However, in her sophomore year Caroline began experiencing leg pain and was diagnosed with two conditions that limited blood flow to her legs.
Caroline’s health problems resulted in five surgeries, causing her to miss weeks of school but never diminishing her desire to excel both athletically and academically. She recently completed her fourth year on the varsity basketball team, serving as senior captain, and for two years has competed in javelin and long jump on the track and field team.
Caroline’s experiences, “some good and some bad,” with at least a dozen doctors, several hospitals, and many healthcare professionals sparked a desire to pursue a career in medicine, either as a pediatrician, ob-gyn or general practitioner. Her college choices include James Madison University, Villanova University, Bucknell University, the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary.