While being a high school student during COVID-19 could be a challenge for some, one Noblesville High School senior is seeing the glass half full rather than half empty.
“The pandemic has been frustrating and life-altering for all of us in one way or another,” NHS senior Ellenor Karst said. “But I can’t help but feel so grateful for the experiences that I have had that will help me grow and be successful in the future.”
Ellenor Karst, who likes to be known as “Ellie,” acknowledges the many challenges this school year at NHS, which offers two in-person school days, one day of eLearning and two schools days on Zoom video conference plus an all-online learning program.
“Being a senior in high school can be stressful enough as is, let alone when you can’t see your friends, only go to school one to two times a week and can’t attend sporting events and dances like in past years. It can be very discouraging,” Ellie Karst said.
But she thinks positively.
“For me, the best way I have coped with the pandemic has been spending the much needed time with my busy family wisely and making due with the opportunities I am given,” said the 18-year-old, the daughter of Richard and Heidi Karst.
A look at Ellie Karst’s resume and one can easily see why she represented NHS in the 2021 Horseshoe Prairie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen of the Year contest. She competed among “the best and brightest Hamilton County has to offer,” according to Sue Eckl, the chapter’s Good Citizen contest chairperson.
What achievements is Ellie Karst most proud?
“I really take pride in the things that I have accomplished so far, but I think my favorites would have to be the two that are the most unique to me: receiving a Gold Key Award in the National Scholastic Art & Writing Competition for my historical fiction short story, as well as being named a member of the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Academic All State Golf Team,” she said. “These two achievements, I feel, best represent who I am as a student as well as an athlete by portraying my dedication to my studies and hobbies.”
Her high school activities also include an internship with Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District this school year, being a leader in Girls STEM clubs at two elementary schools, participating for three years in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference leadership retreat “as nominated by my coaches and the athletic department.” She was nominated by the NHS athletic director to be a member of the Indiana High School Athletic Association student leadership council. She was also a member of Students Against Cancer, Key Club, Spanish Club (an officer) and National Honor Society at her school. She was a four-year letter winner in golf and spent three years as co-captain, participated in junior varsity softball and played in the school orchestra.
She said her mom, Heidi Karst, principal at Stony Creek Elementary, has been the most inspirational person in her life.
“She is the most amazing person I have ever met and I am so lucky to not only have her as a mom but to call her my best friend,” Ellie Karst said. “She is so strong and confident, and she inspires me to step outside of my comfort zone and explore our natural world and to protect it.”
Ellie Karst said her mom inspired her to get involved in community service through the Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County, where they both volunteer together around the holidays.
The teen enjoys mentoring younger students during STEM club, Forest Park summer camp and Harbour Trees junior golf and has watched youth grow in confidence. She said, “I have impacted a variety of people in our local community.”
What else? “Recently, I have grown in my own confidence as I have tutored fellow high school students in Spanish and math,” she said. “Service projects with Key Club and National Honor Society have not only been fulfilling in helping others but also have shown me that I can have fun and influence others to help as well.”
Her plans for the future are “subject to change,” she said, however, she currently will attend Taylor University to continue her academic and athletic careers. She’s signed a letter of intent to play NAIA Women’s Golf as a Taylor Trojan and will study Environmental Science, with a minor in Spanish.
“With these degrees, I hope to go on to serve our nation and the environment as either a national park manager or a member of the Bureau of Land Management,” Ellie Karst said. “The end goal is to build a successful and impactful life near a national park where I will be able to continue exploring the environment and advocating for conservation of our natural resources.”
Leading the STEM clubs, at Hinkle Creek and Stony Creek elementaries, Ellie Karst does research and writes lesson plans for age-appropriate STEM activities for the 15-20 girls involved at each school and teaches them the STEM concept and guides girls to explore skills through the design model process.
She’s a 4-H’er of nine years, completing Foods, Crafts, Aquatic Science, Photography and Creative Writing 4-H projects, of which she has earned grand champion in creative writing, champion in foods (and went on to earn a blue at the Indiana State Fair) and reserve champion in Aquatic Science.
She loves playing sports and being outdoors.
At Harbour Trees Golf Club, Ellie Karst works in the Pro Shop and assists golfers with carts outside.
She has played travel softball for eight years and is a member of the National Softball Association World Series Championship Team.
She has been a summer golf tournament player the past four summers in two states and has been a winner of both event and flight.
Her hobbies are hiking and exploring the outdoors, traveling with her family to state and national parks, golfing, playing softball, watching nature documentaries and spending time with family and friends.
Ellie Karst said she’s always tried her best to exhibit the four qualities of a DAR Good Citizen: dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. “These are qualities that I have been taught to practice all of my life,” she said. (Ellie received the DAR Good Citizen certificate and sported the DAR Good Citizen pin during the contest which took place during a Zoom video conference.)
Ellie Karst has a cumulative grade point average of 4.30, with all A’s and only one B+ during her high school career.
William Kenley, her NHS English teacher, said, “Whether she’s revising her short story for the Scholastic Writing Contest (for which she won a Gold Key Award) or putting in hour after hour on the golf course to prepare to chase a state title, Ellie is focused, efficient and effective.”
Her coach, mentor and friend, Andrea Malcolm, said, “Known for being a leader on and off the field, Ellie possesses great communication skills, a positive attitude and perseverance toward not only the sport of golf and softball but in life.”
As a journalist, I like to ask sources of all ages what’s on their bucket list (which is a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.).
For Ellie Karst, that was an easy question.
“One of my prized possessions is my bucket list, which I’ve dubbed ‘100 Things You Should Do While You’re Here.’ The items on this bucket list range everywhere from small things like going viral on TikTok and going on a picnic, to bigger things like visiting all 50 states (she only has 12 states left to visit) and attending the Olympic Games,” Ellie Karst said.
“I love talking to people about the things I chose to put on my bucket list and periodically go through the list to see how many I’ve completed,” she said.
“So far, I’ve done 10 of the 100.”
One last thing.
I often like to ask the question: “What makes you smile?”
For Ellie Karst, she said it is ‘the small acts of everyday kindness we can find in our community. From someone holding the door for a stranger going into a business or neighbors coming together to shovel snow out of their elderly neighbor’s driveway. These are the things that never fail to brighten my day.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com. To nominate a senior to be featured in one of my upcoming columns in The Times, email a student's name, school, and why he or she would make a good spotlight. (The overall DAR Good Citizen contest winner was Katelyn Riddle from Tipton High School.)