The Renaissance man of Oak Hall School

Generation Next


Published: Monday, June 3, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 3, 2013 at 4:40 p.m.

If the Dos Equis company is ever in search of a new spokesperson, they may want to consider Henry Schott. Henry, the multi-talented 18-year-old Oak Hall School recent graduate, acts, performs ragtime music in a group called the Cigar Band, recites ancient works in Greek and Latin, was a member of the school weightlifting team and plays Ultimate Frisbee, all while maintaining an impressive 4.36 GPA.

“Sometimes we think Henry will grow up to be that guy from the Dos Equis commercials, ‘the most interesting man in the world,' muses his father, John Larry Schott.

If that's not interesting enough, consider these accolades: Henry was a member of the National Honor Society, the Cum Laude Society (an honors group), traveled with his nationally-ranked Latin team to Certamen competitions (a Jeopardy-style Latin game) across the country, and served as President of the Junior Classical League at Oak Hall.

“Henry is an exceptional student. What sets [him] apart is his intellectual curiosity and drive,” says David Jackson, Henry's Latin teacher at Oak Hall School.

That drive began early, due in part to friendly competition with his older brother, Harrison. As the younger son of John Larry Schott, an investment consultant, and Connie Schott, an executive director of human resources at Florida Hospital in Daytona, Henry followed his older brother through Oak Hall.

“It was sibling rivalry in a healthy way,” explains his father. “Both [boys] are special. ... Henry is the younger one, the one who pushes boundaries. He was always hearing ‘Oh, you're Harrison's little brother.'”

For some high schoolers, boundary-pushing might mean a stint with skydiving or staying out past curfew. Henry's thrills tended to come from breaking out of his comfort zone. In his senior year, he managed to join the weightlifting team on a whim, and a recent Christmas gift — a ukulele — ignited his passion to teach himself to play Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

For someone who is “naturally good at everything,” according to his father, Henry enjoys pushing himself to become better, whether in the classroom or beyond.

His inclination toward language arts led him to take to his senior course in Classical Greek. And he's teaching himself German in his free time, that is, when he's not busy translating Plautus' Menaechmi play from Latin (also in his spare time).

“Studying a foreign language opens up worlds to me, and I love that,” Henry says.

It's no surprise that his goal in college is to study linguistics and perhaps become a professor. He plans to attend Rhodes College in Menphis next fall. But he would be thrilled to perform on stage.

Henry has tackled a wide range of roles, from the schizophrenic Jekyll and Hyde to the stage manager in the play “Our Town.” The result? A slew of superior rankings at state thespian competitions over the years.

If Henry is a natural on stage — singing, acting and playing instruments with the Cigar Band (not the school band) — perhaps it is because performing runs in his blood. He jokes that his father plays the kazoo on a professional level, and in all seriousness, his uncle Jeff was a clown with the Ringling Brothers circus.

“We have a lot of circus stuff lying around,” Henry says, including a unicycle and clown shoes. His uncle also taught him juggling and stilt-walking.

“Henry is the classic Renaissance man ... he is musical, dramatic and very scientific. He is one of a kind,” says Ed Legare, his physics teacher at Oak Hall.

If, for some reason, Henry decides to veer off his current path to college and a career in academics, he can always fall back on his circus lineage and do a little busking — performing in public in exchange for tips.

“There's always a slim possibility that I'll get picked out by some famous actor and become a star,” Henry says with a laugh.

In Henry's world, anything is possible.

Generation Next profiles one of the area's amazing youth (ages 12 to 22) in each issue. Have a suggestion for someone to include? Please e-mail levinej@gvillesun.com.

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