Ferndale Grad Holds the World in Her Hands
Dea Closson catches global bug and will fly off to major in international studies at George Washington University in D.C.
As a young child, Dea Closson may not have known that international travel would play a significant role in her lifetime goals.
She may not have believed that as a young delegate to Canada, Denmark and Greece, she would develop a love for sharing her culture and bridging gaps between nations.
And she may never have suspected that one day she would become a distinguished graduate of Ferndale High School, primed and ready to embark on a collegiate career designed to help her reach her ambitious goal of becoming an international diplomat.
Or maybe she did know. “That’s a long way off,” she said.
For now, Closson, 17, is happy to celebrate last week’s graduation with her friends and family, taking time to reflect on all she achieved as a 2011 Ferndale High School grad.
In addition to achieving the Principal’s Award in recognition of her 3.85 grade point average and academic rank in the top 10 percent of Ferndale students, Closson was the captain of the girls’ softball team and section leader for Ferndale’s lauded marching band. She was the only female diver on the swim team.
She is an accomplished flutist. “Dea is a fabulous musician, a very hard worker,” said Elon Jamison, director of bands and K-12 performing arts coordinator for Ferndale Schools. “She is motivated to spend the daily time necessary for practice and this has really paid off for her.”
Jamison said Closson has mastered the higher skills of musical expression. “Dea has plenty of technique and she thinks carefully about what makes her music expressive, and that’s one of her great achievements,” explained Jamison.
Closson’s musical expertise earned her the John Phillips Sousa Award for band students and landed her the piccolo chair for the All State Orchestra competition in Grand Rapids this year, one of two spots for piccolo players, said Jamison.
As section leader for the Ferndale marching band, Closson developed patience and leadership skills Jamison believes will help her career plans. “Supervising teen girls is right up there in difficulty with herding cats,” said Jamison. “Dea’s perseverance and determination serve her well in academics, and there’s no other way, no shortcut. Those who learn that lesson through music are better off in their other studies and in the rest of their lives.”
With Closson’s academic record, she courted the nation’s top universities: Columbia, Northwestern, New York University, American University, the University of Michigan and Michigan State, before giving George Washington University her acceptance.
“George Washington has the degree program in international studies that I want and is one of only nine universities in the country with that program,” said Closson. It is in Washington, close to the epicenter of politics and diplomacy so critical to the field of study, she said.
A love for travel and cultural sharing certainly fed her passion for international relations, said Closson’s mother, Leah Closson. At 11 Closson first served as a delegate to Victoria, Canada with CISV, an international program that fosters cultural sharing in a non-competitive atmosphere in a rigorous month-long curriculum. Similar trips to Denmark, Greece and San Franciso followed and Closson now serves as president of the junior branch of the Detroit CISV chapter, the largest of the U.S. chapters, according to her mother.
Those who know her best would describe Closson as an athletic, self-motivated individual, said Leah Closson. “She really excels in individual sports like gymnastics and diving where she can set her own goals and constantly up her own level of competition,” said Leah Closson. “She’s a thrill seeker like that.”
Grateful for the variety of programs offered through Ferndale Schools and the Center for Advance Studies and the Arts, the consortium school where Closson opted to take several Advanced Placement classes as a junior and a senior, Closson is quick to credit the Ferndale Schools with her success.
“I would not have traded my experience at Ferndale for anything,” said Closson. “My whole time at Ferndale taught me so much about working with people because it’s such a positive atmosphere. Through it all, I learned so much that you can't learn just living in the classroom.”
Closson will spend her summer at home in Ferndale with mom Leah, 44; dad Jude, 48; brother Thaddeus, 15, and their two cats, Mr. Blue and Mr. Kuro.