Editor's note: Second in a series of 10 personality stories on the Top 10 academic students in the Loudonville High School Class of 2018.
When you think of honor students, the image sometimes is of a backwards, quiet, maybe a little shy, serious and studious individual.
Deken Foster, Loudonville High School senior and one of the Top 10 academic students in the Loudonville High Class of 2018, breaks the mold on all of these counts.
The son of Heather Ritchie Saylor of Perrysville and Jeremy Foster of Ashland is anything but backwards, quiet or shy. He is effervescent, bold, creative and outgoing. While he plans to study biology in college ("I'm not a risk taker, when it comes to a career," he said), Foster's true love is theater.
He has played a role, including some lead roles, in all but one Loudonville High School Drama Club production since he started high school, and he played the villain in last weekend's production of "You're In Town" by the drama club.
He also loves music, and plays just about every instrument in the band, his best being the trumpet, piano, flute and tenor sax. He is a member of Loudonville High's superior winning choir, including the symphonic choir.
But his plan is to major in biology in college, and minor in theater.
"My love for biology started as a seventh-grader in Mr. Jim Conley's life sciences class, and was carried on later by Mr. David Spreng," he said. "But I like many other subjects as well, band, choir, other sciences and English."
Among his academic successes, he said, was taking online English classes from Aimee Ross for college credits in Composition I and II, along with five other college classes offered through the College Credit Plus program, through the North Central Technical College.
He goes to the social studies to find his favorite teacher, however, noting "Mr. Eric Stoner is my favorite teacher because he is the one I am most likely to go to for advice. He is the most knowledgeable person I know."
Foster is a member of the band, choir, jazz band, drama club and symphonic choir at LHS, along with the academic challenge team. He may run track for the first time this spring, "if I can fit it around my music schedule."
Foster also has an interesting out of school activity, being heavily involved in the Society of Creative Anachronisms in Mansfield, which he described as a "medieval recreation group, studying all things about the medieval era. My special interest is fencing, dueling with swords in the ancient styles, something that I have been doing for four years, sword fighting with historic swords and wearing medieval clothing. We do something with this every week, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays," he said. "During the summers we participate in a lot of special events."
He also does a lot of online work and play, "including playing more video games than you could ever imagine," and is an avid reader, mostly of fantasy books. He said he read the Lord of Rings trilogy twice, all of the Harry Potter books, "and my favorite is the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah Mass."
Foster has narrowed his college choices to two, either Ohio State or The College of Wooster.
"Being from Ohio, there is a big pull toward Ohio State and the exciting programs it offers, but, at the urging of Mr. Stoner, I have applied to the College of Wooster, where he says I would fit in very well. Getting the financial aid to go to Wooster will be a huge challenge," he said.
He noted "I will be the first person in my family to go to college."
His ultimate career goal is to be involved in something in the biological sciences.
"I see myself as like a geneticist, or a person who does gene therapy," he said.
Foster has a little sister, Kyra Saylor, age 8 and a second-grader at the McMullen School; brother Tristan Foster, 5, of Ashland; and a stepbrother, Taylor Arthur, 12 and a sixth-grader in Ashland.