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Ellen Schmidt, 17, of Williamsville, has worked hard to balance her commitments.

A graduate this year of Williamsville South High School, Ellen ranked near the top of her class of 257 students, while taking the most challenging advanced-placement courses. She was able to do this while playing varsity field hockey and being on the varsity track and field teams. She also served in student government on the Student Congress Executive Board and the Inter-High Council.

As a pianist with the Chromatic Club of Buffalo for seven years, Ellen enjoys performing in recitals and nursing homes.

"The performing arts have always been a big part of her life," said her mother, Carol Schmidt. In addition, Ellen's been active in theater, dance and choral groups in both school and community productions, and belongs to the International Thespian Society.

Ellen's accomplishments have won her numerous awards and scholarships.

Now a freshman at Geneseo State College, she's concentrating on math and physics, and continues to study the piano. She's involved in the Geneseo Organization for Leadership Development (GOLD), a campus organization that seeks to prepare students for college and community leadership roles and responsibilities.

Know a young outstanding Western New Yorker? Tell us about your nomination, including age and address, for possible publication in ClassActs. Pictures cannot be returned. Write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240, or e-mail