Plamena Pesheva (Downtown)

Plamena Pesheva has delicate cursive handwriting and always is smiling. Quiet and soft-spoken Plamena has a rich history one has to ask for.

Plamena grew up in the seaport city of Varna in Bulgaria, the European country’s third largest city with a population of 300,000. Plamena, who left Bulgaria at 15 with her family, when her mother got a job in the United States, remembers often running into friends walking around the streets and eating at cafes in the large city.

“From my window, I could see the black sea,” Plamena said.

Every weekend, the Pesheva family would walk 40 minutes to Plamena’s grandparents’ home. Most visits, Plamena would sit in the living room and look through the pages of Bulgarian newspapers. This ritual “was part of my Bulgarian life,” Plamena says. Plamena’s grandfather hoped she would become a doctor and her sister, a lawyer. Plamena has other plans.

In the third grade, Plamena and her classmates wrote stories for class. After turning in one paper, Plamena’s teacher read her story to the class.

“I was like, ‘Oh, I can write,’” says Plamena, who decided then to be a writer.

Plamena began learning English in the fifth grade with two-hour lessons a week. After the seventh grade, Bulgarian students take exams to place into high school (which begins in eighth grade). Plamena placed into one of the city’s better schools, one that focused on English. Plamena took intense English classes that lasted four hours a day, on top of taking regular classes including biology, chemistry, physics, history, Bulgarian literature, music, art, geography and math.

In the middle of Plamena’s ninth year in school, the Pesheva family moved to Shrub Oak, New York, about 50 minutes outside of New York City. In high school in the United States, Plamena began writing for the school paper, “The Voice” at Yorktown High in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

“I used to miss [Bulgaria] in the beginning,” Plamena says. “Now everything is here.”

Plamena and her sister, Maggie, both spoke English, but their parents struggled. Plamena’s father, Rumen, often asks about an English word and then repeats it, until he knows it.

“He is the funniest person in the world,” Plamena says. “He cracks jokes in English, Bulgarian and languages that he doesn’t know.”

Her father is a former Bulgarian Olympic boxer and her mother, Krasi, a former Bulgarian Olympic gymnast. Plamena’s sister practiced gymnastics and was a Bulgarian national champion, and regional, including eight states, and New York state champion. Plamena plays tennis.

“Plamena loves writing,” says Andreia Moura, 21, a friend at Pace University in New York. 
“English was her favorite subject in school. I don’t know why; I hate it.”

Plamena is now a junior at Boston University studying newspaper journalism and history. Plamena writes for the Daily Free Press, an independent student newspaper at Boston University.

“She wrote an opinion piece about her housing situation. That was her best work and what she enjoyed the most,” says Boston University student Michael Quintavalla, Plamena’s boyfriend of almost two years.

Plamena is in the United States on a Green Card and will apply for citizenship when eligible. Plamena hopes to work for a major newspaper as an investigative journalist.

Beth Wolfson (Jamaica Plain)

By Ryan Meehan

Beth Wolfson jokes that the highlight of her life is being covered in thick, light-green slime at Nickelodeon Studios when she was about 8-years-old. The 22-year-old journalism major at Boston University can still recall the peculiar apple taste of the slime, but she prefers the taste of a freshly baked cake to slime any day.

“I can bake any kind of cake from scratch. German chocolate, red velvet, banana rum – anything,” she says. “Everyone teases me that I’m like their mother.”

Raised in Northbrook, Ill., Wolfson had to learn to cook on her own. When she would tell her mother she was hungry, she was told to make the food herself. Her father cooks eggs, nothing else.

“We’re happy to be her guinea pigs,” said her father, Jeff Wolfson, 55, who is a fan of a good home-cooked meal.

When she visits her boyfriend, Jason Mayer, 22, who is a member of the Theta Chi fraternity at Miami University in Ohio, she always brings baked goods. By the end of the weekend, the food is gone, he said.

“She’s really innovative," said Mayer. "This weekend she brought me cookies and muffins; beats the hell out of eating my mom’s cooking.”

Last fall, Wolfson held a volunteer after-school teaching position at William Barton Rogers Middle School in Hyde Park, Mass., where she passed her recipes on to a class of sixth and seventh graders. Her team leader, Monica Hayden, 22, of Winchester, Mass., said Wolfson once brought in a smoothie recipe and encouraged the students to mix their favorite ingredients to make their own.

“I definitely learned a lot from her,” Hayden said. “I even use her recipes.”

Wolfson’s desire to work with children began while studying in Australia a year earlier. She saw six countries in five months, inducing culture shock as she traveled to Cambodia, Thailand, and China. She learned about dengue fever and how children were dying because they could not afford a $2 vaccination. The experience opened her eyes to the world, and she now hopes to work with underprivileged kids one day.

“I would love to be able to help people,” she said.

As an economics minor, Wolfson is considering career options. She worries the country will go into a recession, and contemplates how it will affect her aspirations.

“Getting a job after graduation is going to be tough,” she says. “Non-profit [organizations] make cuts because donations are low because of the economic situation.”

She lifts an issue of Cooking Light magazine off of her desk and jokes about her alternative options as a chef.

Ryan Meehan (Dorchester)

By Beth Wolfson

Ryan Meehan was on a train in London while studying abroad in the summer of 2005 when an announcement came over the speaker that there were plans to bomb the train. Chaos ensued as riders were evacuated from the train.

Meehan, a Goshen, N.Y. native pursuing photojournalism at Boston University, stayed calm, refusing to move as he reached for his camera. As he clicked the button, “memory card full” blinked on his screen.

“I was disappointed, but it taught me to always be prepared,” Meehan said.

Meehan’s mother, Fern Tjornhom, 50, was not surprised that her son ran toward potential danger. “Where there’s danger, he will be there,” she said. “He’s got to be in it.”

Nearly three years later, Meehan, now age 22 and a senior, is preparing to graduate with a degree in photojournalism and a degree in psychology and philosophy.
“I’ve taken classes every summer to be able to graduate on time,” he said. Jo 308 is another requirement he must meet to graduate in May.

Meehan began college as a psychology major but always loved photography. “I didn’t think I could make a living out of it, but everyone kept telling me to do what I love,” he said. It was after London he decided to add photojournalism to his list of majors. He calls his experience in London “an inspirational time for my career. That’s what I want to do: travel and take pictures,” he said.

His mother is happy to see her son pursue a photography career.
“My dad was a photographer. I was, and now he is taking it to a new level. It’s great. He’s just so talented,” she said.

Meehan would love a job taking pictures for National Geographic, the NY TIMES or In the mean time, he is interviewing for jobs in Boston and N.Y.C., hoping to find an opportunity that will lead him to his dream job.

His girlfriend Zara Zuckerman, 22, of New York City, remembers when Meehan started on his photography path when he signed up for a class in high school. “He got really into it and made a really cool snowboarding video,” she said. “He’s very, very creative.”

Maeghan Ouimet (South End)

by Eric Zuerndorfer

“Maeghan Ouimet took a shot at the net. The puck deflected off the goalie and trickled in.”

“Maeghan Ouimet sped down the right side of the ice and found Bourdeau in the slot.”

“Maeghan Ouimet scored her first career goal for the terriers.”

It was a hockey life for 13 years. This was how she wanted it to be. This was how she dreamed it would be. But sometimes dreams change.

“I’ve been playing hockey since I was seven and I came to B.U. to play,” said Ouimet. “But somewhere along the way it just became sort of a job.”

After 13 years on the ice, Ouimet knew it was time to let go of her dream of being a Division I hockey player. By moving on, she had to drop nearly everything she knew and create a new life for herself. Ouimet had built up her physical strength most of her life for hockey, but she now had to use her emotional strength to know what was best for her.

Ouimet gave up hockey to focus on her new passion-- feature writing for magazine journalism. A junior at Boston University from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Ouimet is satisfied with her new path to work towards and enjoy. She hopes to write longer feature articles someday for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, or The New Yorker.

“At first, it was weird. I’d always been a hockey player,” said Ouimet. “But now I’ve accepted the fact and I’m happier doing things I know I can succeed in past college.”

“She’s always been a real competitor on the ice,” said Becky Zavisza, a former high school teammate who plays for Boston College. “I think that’s the sort of thing that will help her in the future.”

Celebrating her 21st birthday Monday, it’s clear Ouimet’s social life still reminds her of her previous hockey-concentrated life. She remains friends with all her teammates and coaches she’s had since high school. A year ago before she decided to give up hockey, other schools offered her scholarships to come play for them.

“I said no because I didn’t want to leave and have to rebuild friendships,” said Ouimet.

“She thinks of her friends like family,” said Cara Hendry, friend and former captain of Ouimet’s hockey team. “We’re close like that.”

Ouimet says she still has difficulty keeping herself busy. Previously, she had always been practicing, playing, or doing something involving hockey. Over the summer, she started babysitting twin three-year old boys. She sees them twice a week.

Ouimet still stays involved with the hockey team by helping out with camps and supporting them at their games.

“I’m happy to consider her a former player, but more importantly, a real friend,” said Brian Durocher, head coach of the B.U. Women’s Hockey team.

The only thing Ouimet knows for sure is that she cannot look back.

“It’s time to focus on my future,” said Ouimet. “It was a tough decision, but I’m happy now. I don’t regret a thing.”

Nick Davis (Back Bay)

Nick Davis’s new year’s resolution was to be able to touch his toes. The Boston University junior positions himself on the floor, one leg outstretched behind and another tucked beneath him as he leans forward in a push-up like demonstration. “I’ve been going to yoga,” he says. “This is the pigeon pose. I can’t really do it in jeans, but I promise you it opens up your upper thighs and releases all this tension. It’s amazing.”

Straightening up, the Santa Monica, Calif., native does the pants dance and adjusts his trendy t-shirt before sitting back down. “I’m on a health kick this semester,” he says. “Not because I’m a health Nazi, but because my friends and I from home have this bet … It’s like a race to see who loses the most weight. We each put in $50 and whoever loses the most this semester gets all $200.”

While Davis is spending a lot of time sweating hard for that money at the gym this semester, the majority of it is spent around campus, either catching up with friends over coffee at the student union or over a game of Mario Party in his apartment. The aspiring fashion photographer has a plan beyond his 2008 resolution and fun-time campus crawl: he’d like to travel the world, experience new cultures, observe up-and-coming trends in foreign lands while documenting his findings with a camera.

“He always has his camera on him,” said Michelle Khedr, Davis’s best friend from home. “If he’s not taking pictures he’s talking about the pictures he should take.”

Davis, constantly carries his heavy Canon 40D around his neck, is a few inches short of 6 feet. He has a grin from ear to ear and a of mess hair on the top of his head, often parted with a pair of the most stylish sunglasses.

Making note of the snapshots on the wall in his dorm room, Davis recognizes the face of a friend abroad. It’s been a tough year. Most of his best friends are studying abroad. He calls this “a growing year.”

“He’s by himself out there on the East Coast [this year]; his core group of friends that would support him when he’s down and out aren’t there,” said Jennifer Davis, his older sister. “Without anybody to lean on … things are hard, he is really learning who he is.”

His friends aren’t worried about him. “He is a great friend and the one person I know that would never talk badly about me or anyone behind their back,” said Erin Kutz, Davis’s friend from BU.

“He’s very outgoing,” said Kutz. “When I first met him he talked to me right away even though I had never met him before, and he’ll do that with anyone … he’d go into anyone’s room and sit down and talk. It’s refreshing because he’s not stuck up, ever, and he never holds back, which is rare.”

“He is the warmest, friendliest most loving person,” Jennifer said. “He is my best friend in the entire world. I can’t even stress warm, but the top word that me and my friends use to describe him is fabulous. You have to say it the right way, of course. Fabulous!”

When asked why he left sunny California frigid Boston, he replied: “I want to fabulize the East Coast.”

Lauren Sutter (Charlestown)

Lauren Sutter smiles as she opens her cell phone. She proudly shows the picture of her dog Lucky in a Santa hat, and talks about how obsessed she is with him. She is dressed comfortably in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, with her short dark hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. She exudes a laid-back energy, but as she talks about journalism and her Jewish faith something changes in her. There is a conviction in her voice, and an excitement in her eyes, that makes you realize she is anything but laid back about the things that are important to her.

Lauren Sutter was born in Ridgewood N.J. in 1987. She moved to Wesley Hills, N.Y. with her mom and older brother Justin when she was 8, and then settled in her current town of Suffern, N.Y. more than10 years ago.

As a junior at Boston University, Lauren is studying magazine journalism and Judaic studies. When asked why she chose to study journalism, Lauren shrugs, “I honestly have no idea,” she said. “I like to write and I was trying to figure out what to do so I chose journalism.”

Trained in opera and Broadway singing, the performing arts may have been a career path but Lauren decided against it. “Parts of me think I should have kept up with it,” she said.

While she does not sound passionate about her major, her enthusiasm comes out as she to talk about it. “I think journalism has the power to change things, and I firmly believe that the world is due for a change,” she said.

It is Lauren’s minor, Judaic Studies, that seems to really light a fire within her. Raised in a Jewish home, her faith really helps to define who she is. She attended a Jewish day school and after spending the summer in Israel, she knew that was where she wanted to end up.

“There is still anti-Semitism and it’s important to show the other side and what the Jewish people are all about, and that you can’t always judge,” she said.

After graduation, Lauren hopes to move to Israel to work at the Jerusalem Post. When asked why she would want to move that far away she says, “There is a comfort level for me there. There is something so different then there is in America.”
The people close to Lauren regard her as “insightful and compassionate,” according to close friend Dani Tor. “She has a wisdom beyond her years,” says her mother, “she is an independent individual who is understanding, and can think things through.”

As for where Lauren will be in five years? “I could see Lauren getting paid to travel the world,” Dani says. Her mother just says, “Lauren will be in a place she wants to be, and whatever field she goes into she will be a star.”

Kimberly Reiss (Newton)

Kimberly Reiss, a Boston University junior with flowing blonde hair, a sociable smile, and hazel eyes, loves history, reading, rock music, Paris, and her cat, Patches.

Kimberly is from Mahwah, N.J., which is in the northern part of the state. Her parents own an ice rink, The Vault, in Wayne, N.J. She has an older brother, Bryan, and a younger sister, Chelsea, and three cats, with Patches as her “baby.”

“She is very serious about her friends,” her mother said. “She expects back what she gives, and when that doesn’t happen, she gets very upset.” She is also close to her family.

Kim is a magazine journalism major with a minor in History. Her favorite city is Paris because of its rich history in the arts, architecture, and culture. She said she would love to work for Rolling Stone Magazine. “I love music, especially the Beatles and alternative rock,” she said. “I guess you can say I am a rock and roll kind of girl. But I have also always been good at memorizing facts and dates.”

“I love traveling. I have an itch,” she said. Her favorite place in the world is the South of France, describing it as “beautiful” regarding its landscape and aura.

Kim hopes to be someplace far for her 21st birthday in March, but doesn’t know where yet. “I will not be here in Boston, I will tell you that much,” she said. She wanted to study abroad in Paris for a semester, but school restrictions did not allow her.
Kim has been to Egypt, the Caribbean, Hawaii, all over Europe, Mexico, and China. “It is so much fun, especially with all the different cultures,” she said.

Kim also likes to be alone. “I am a social person, but at times I just go for drives or sit on my bed and read. I don’t need things to be fast paced all the time.”

Mary Vitale (Brookline)

By Eric Eisenberg

Sitting in one of her journalism classrooms on Commonwealth Avenue, Mary Vitale, 20, a junior at Boston University, remembered a habit from her childhood.

“Before computers… I used to take out my dad’s typewriter and just write one-page short stories,” Mary said. “In high school, I kept writing and wrote on the school paper. I realized that it is hard to get a creative writing job, and I realized that journalism was different, but fun.”

It was that recognition that led to Mary majoring in magazine journalism at BU’s College of Communication, but she remains unsure of her direction.

“I just don’t want to work for any trashy tabloids,” Mary said. “I would like to do current events, but I’m afraid that I don’t understand them as well as I should. I also like the arts, but on an idealistic level I would like to write human interest stories or stories about human rights.”
Outside of classes, Mary regularly volunteers, involved in the both the local community service center and the Children’s Theater in Boston.

“We write and put on five minute skits and perform them for inner city kids around Boston,” Mary said. “I enjoy working with people.”

Her mother, Karen Gormley, 50, who works as a nurse with Hospice, said that her start in philanthropy began when, at a young age, she volunteered to assist at basketball programs within the local Catholic Youth Organization.

“If it wasn’t their game, they would run the candy [stand], or run the clock, or do the books for the games,” Karen said. “After that they just volunteered in those kinds of activities.”

Mary grew up in Somers, NY, a small town in Westchester County, where her family still lives.

“When I tell people where I live, they call it upstate, and think it’s 10 hours from the city, but its actually only one hour from the tip of Manhattan,” Mary said.

Her proximity to New York sparked her interest in cities and traveling. Going to Florence, Italy through a program at Fairfield University during the fall semester of 2007, Mary took five classes in a wide range of subjects from European literature to Introduction to cooking. Two years before, Mary took a trip to India.

“I had read a lot about poverty and violence, but to see it…I was blown away,” Mary said. “Seeing children sleeping in the street, I saw that most of the world lives like [they do in India] and not everyone lives the way Americans and Europeans live.”

Away from home most of the year, Mary stays in contact with her family, talking to her brother, Michael Vitale, 22, employee of J.P. Morgan Chase, about once a week.

“I like to give her a little bit of space when she’s away but I do talk to her when important stuff comes up,” Michael said. “I keep in pretty close contact with her.”

Said Mark Symons, 21, who is an engineering major at Northeastern University and friend of Mary’s from freshman year of high school, “She’s real easy going; she’s a great girl and she’s a great friend.”

Mary is still unsure of how to balance her interests with a future career. While considering journalism, she is also thinking about attending law school, where she would study to be a media lawyer, practice family law, or potentially go into human rights law.

“I have a life list that lists everything I want to accomplish in my life,” Mary said. “Things on it range from adopting a baby from China or Africa, to publishing a novel, to planning a road trip to Vegas with my friends, to seeing all the wonders of the world… I always like to meet new people, try different things, and have fun.”

Eric Eisenberg (Allston/Brighton)

A Collection of 250 Movies is Just the Beginning

Boston University junior Eric Eisenberg has a collection of more than 250 movies and does not flinch at spending $9.50 to see the latest film release.

“I just love movies,” Eric said. “Any movie coming out that looks remotely interesting, I bolt to the theater.”

Eric said that Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino films rank among his favorites, but he is open to all film genres.

There is more to this 21-year-old redhead from Maplewood, N.J., than movies. Eric is also interested in writing, politics, sports and his friends and family. A news-editorial print journalism major at BU, Eric said writing is a big part of his life.

“I’ve always considered myself a writer,” he said. “One of my favorite things to do is write. I have taken writing classes before and found that journalism really seemed to be the perfect profession for being a writer.”

Eric’s interest and exposure to journalism goes back to his high school years. During his senior year at Columbia High School, a controversy at the school involving the difficulty of integrating the poorer minority students into the upper level classes. This put his high school in the media spotlight. The controversy sparked many changes to the Maplewood community including the dismissal of many school administrators. Eric said the New York Times still keeps an eye on his former high school.

His real interest in journalism took shape when he began to write for his high school newspaper. His first assignment was to do a report on the ultimate Frisbee team, a sport he said was invented at Columbia High School.

“I got some great interviews and it just became a great story,” Eric said. “It sparked something in me, and I knew that journalism would be a big part of my future.”

Eric described being a film critic as his ultimate dream job.

“To be able to combine my love of film with my writing career would be an absolute dream,” he said.

He thinks he would excel at film criticism because of his knowledge about film and his love for movies.

“When I see a bad film, it just makes me despise the lack of intelligence in America,” he said.

Eric said he is grateful his parents and friends are in full support of his career goals.

“He’d be great at it,” said Jonathan Wilkie, 21, a friend of Eric’s for the last four years. “He collects movies. He knows everything about movies. He can answer a movie trivia question before the guy will even finish the sentence. It’s just what he loves.”

Eric’s friend and roommate, Michael Clement, 20, said Eric’s appreciation for film would make him a very effective critic.

“He really understands what makes movies good and he can appreciate why other people may like a certain film even if he personally didn’t like it,” Michael said.
Eric’s friends also said he possesses an extremely loyal and genuine personality.

“Eric is a really loyal friend. He would do anything for his friends. He is also always really fun to be around and that’s one of the things I like most about him,” said Katrina McGillis, 20, a friend from college.

Jonathan added that Eric still knows how to have a good time.

“I guess his only other hobby right now is drinking beer,” Jonathan joked.

Michelle Gininger (South Boston)

What makes Michelle Gininger happy is hearing other people’s stories.

“You hear the most bizarre things,” she said.

The 19-year-old College of Communication junior is majoring in photojournalism and graduates in December 2008.

“I’m trying to get out of college,” she said

Born in Centreville, Va, just outside Washington, D.C., Michelle has lived in the same house her whole life. Her dream job is to work at the Washington Post.
When she was in 10th grade, she picked up a camera for the first time. It was her older brother’s. She now more than1,000 photographs on her computer. She mostly takes pictures of people and sports, even though she does not like sports.

“Your portfolio is only as good as your weakest picture,” she said.

Michelle says her weakest picture is the portrait of a guy who plays street music in the Boston Common. Her favorite photograph is of a transvestite praying in a church in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Dahlman, a junior at Boston University majoring in advertising, first met Michelle after they both transferred to the College of Communications.

“She was friendly and bubbly as hell,” Daniel says.

She framed a picture of a high school basketball game, which has made it on the Associated Press wire. Daniel expects Michelle to become “a world-class photographer.”

Michelle collects art books. They are expensive but her uncle gives them to her for free. One book is by Carol Guzy, whom Michelle met while she interned for the in the summer of 2007.

“She is amazing. I want to be like her,” Michelle said.

This summer Michelle is excited to work for whom she calls the “bad guys” at the Washington Times, the Post’s competitors.

Michelle says she wanted to be a writer, but changed to photojournalism because she didn’t want to be a “poor novelist.”

“I learned to love journalism,” she said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Her parents and brother support her. The only thing they don’t support is her singing, said Michelle. She said she has a horrible voice.

Her friend Lindsey Graves, a junior at George Mason, has known Michelle for five years. She described her as outgoing, social, understanding and great at giving advice.

“She can make me laugh, even when I’m in the worst mood,” she said.

Lindsey says following Michelle’s advice during a time of social anxiety during her freshman year in college has made her “extremely happy.”

Nadia Murabit, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, described Michelle as determined, independent, warm and mature.

“She talks about photojournalism in a passionate way,” she said.

Nadia expects her friend to succeed.

Michelle graduated from high school a year early because she didn’t like the environment. While still in high school, she interned at the Centerview newspaper, writing stories and taking photographs. Her most memorable story was about the recovery of a woman who had breast cancer.

Michelle has a 7-year-old cat named Peaches.

“He is a sweetie,” she said.

Eric Zuerndorfer (Chinatown)

By Maeghan Ouimet

BOSTON – Eric Zuerndorfer, a 21-year-old junior print journalism major at Boston University, prefers to go unnoticed in a city congested by people fighting for attention.

Leaving the comfort of his Tampa, Fla., private school, Eric traveled to Boston hoping for a change, and a change is what he got. No longer the well-known baseball player that knew everyone he saw in his school’s hallway, Eric was forced to adapt to his new environment – an environment without a baseball team.

“The only thing that got me by in high school was my athletic ability,” Zuerndorfer said, noting his transition to student from full-time student-athlete was difficult.

Unable to identify as an athlete, Zuerndorfer heeded his father’s advice to become a business major. His father, Gordon, an All-American lacrosse player at MIT, set a high bar for his middle son. Without athletics Zuerndorfer hoped to appease his parents' academic wishes for him and enrolled in the Boston University’s School of Management at the start of his junior year.

“I left after two weeks. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but what my family wanted me to do,” Zuerndorfer said.

He soon found his niche in journalism, where he plans to focus on sports writing. No longer consumed by his father’s wishes, Eric finds himself happier, which, for him is a personal victory.

“I’m quiet and I hate confrontation,” he said.

Taking a new path was not something that came easily, but his time at Boston University has taught him to fight for what he believes in.

Following his older brother, Adam, a recent Emory College graduate who works as a sports writer for The Lenoir (N.C.) New-Topic, will pose another set of challenges for Zuerndorfer.

“When Eric told me he wanted to be a journalism major, my first reaction was disbelief. Eric as a sports writer is like Michael Jordan as a third baseman,” his brother said.

Adam said he believes that Eric will succeed in whatever field he chooses to pursue.

“Eric could be a multi million-dollar business manager or a high school volleyball coach and I wouldn’t be surprised. He can do pretty much anything he sets his mind to,” his brother said.

Now, Eric and his girlfriend Laura Markey plan to study abroad in Australia for their first semester of their senior year.

“I think it’s a way for students to get away, and why wouldn’t I want to get away?” Zuerndorfer asked.