Certainly Not a ‘Poor, Unfortunate Soul’

Written on 04/17/2024
Paul Batterson, Contributing Writer

Hooley Finds Refuge from Life’s Storms at Worthington Christian

When it came to casting for Worthington Christian’s Feb. 22-25 production of The Little Mermaid, Rachel Hooley was anything but typecast as Ursula the Sea Witch. Hooley usually exhorts her classmates to sing when she is on the stage for the school’s chapel services. As the villain of The Little Mermaid, Ursula takes voices away from Ariel and other “unfortunate souls.”

“It’s maybe not what I would have chosen for myself, but I am having fun with it,” she said in the days leading up to the show. “I’m starting to like the part more and more as it continues.”

Christian Studies teacher Jackson Woosley said in his classroom Hooley is the antithesis of her snarling, fiendish on-stage persona.

Her character may sink ships, but Woosley said in his classroom Hooley is “the rising tide that lifts all boats.”

“Her smile is contagious,” Woosley said. “She makes others better – simply by who she is. “Rachel is a fantastic example of what makes Worthington Christian a great place to learn and grow.”

For Hooley, Woosley’s class has been a place of refuge during a stormy senior year. Her father, Bruce, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September.

“That was definitely not something that my family saw coming,” said Hooley, who credits the Worthington Christian staff for helping her and her sister Lexee (WC ‘27) through the week of her father’s surgery. “It was scary there for a while, but we are doing well now.

“Woosley just has a way of telling if you are having a difficult day. He starts every class by praying for us and having us pray for each other. That is always so encouraging. I step into his room, and I start to relax.”

Bruce Hooley was a long-time sports broadcaster with former Buckeye linebacker Chris Spielman. He is currently a talk show host for a Christian radio station, 98.9 FM The Answer, and he writes about high school sports for Press Pros Magazine.

Rachel Hooley, who is planning on majoring in creative marketing at either Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., or Taylor University in Upland, Ind., said her personality comes more from her mom, Sheri, than from her dad.

However, like her father, Hooley is amazingly comfortable in front of microphones and crowds.

Hooley’s favorite memory of Worthington Christian occurred shortly after the return from the 2023-24 winter break. She and two students planned an optional chapel service for the school.

The result was something the trio never envisioned happening.

“Sometimes, people can be pretty disengaged with chapel,” she said. “People are napping or talking or on their phones. No one is really singing.

“But this chapel was different. I looked out and saw people raising their hands, hugging each other, crying, and praying with each other. That’s not something that I had seen before at another chapel. It was amazing to be a part of that.”

Hooley transferred to Worthington Christian as she entered high school. One of the aspects that helped her find her people was playing on the girls’ golf team. Hooley was a four-year letter winner for the Warriors, making second-team all-conference twice.

One of Hooley’s more memorable experiences on the green came after she shanked a shot during a match. Hooley shook off the shot and then holed out from 150 yards out.

“If I took away one thing from golf, it is the perseverance aspect,” she said. “Life has many ups and downs, just like in golf. You’ll have really bad holes, but by following Christ, you always know that something better is coming.”