Morgan Vannell '23

A Spark of Inspiration
“I walked through the short hallway leading from the athletic building to the stands, my friend just a few steps in front of me. Sound pulsed in from the bright end of the hall, louder and louder. My friend stepped out into the light and turned to face me, grinning. He began to join in the chants shaking the air around us with sound, and I ran past him into that beloved, crazed mob of students.”

Morgan Vannell’s description of his favorite PVI memory reveals one of his many talents: writing. While interested in many different subjects, “writing feels meaningful, like it’s something I have to do, something I’m supposed to do,” he shares.

Morgan is headed to Yale University, where he plans to major in English with the goal of becoming a writer. “I read and write a lot of poetry now and I want to learn how to write extended fiction and become a better storyteller. I’m excited to take creative writing classes where I can work under teachers who have written books and learn how to break down a story.”

Morgan has valued the difference good teachers have made for him. “The teachers are the exceptional part of PVI. There is a depth to them and their lives as individuals which shows in the way they interact with us.”

Morgan earned the distinction of Valedictorian for the Class of 2023. Notably, he also used his academic talents to help others. He created Tutoring Outreach Program, which provided free tutoring to middle and high school students from disadvantaged and recently immigrated families. He created flyers and worked with LCPS, public libraries, and homeowner associations to connect with students in need of tutoring and recruited PVI classmates to serve as tutors too. Morgan shares that he was especially moved by the bond he formed with one young man, who would walk by himself a long distance to attend their sessions.

In addition to being on the PVI cross country, swim and boys volleyball teams, Morgan served as a volunteer firefighter in Ashburn. As a junior volunteer, he ran tools, set up the hose, and made sure the crew had everything they needed.

“I saw how the fire fighters interacted with one another and it was something I wanted to be a part of. Working with the crew teaches you how to react in a situation where you have to respect somebody who’s giving you a job, who knows how to make the team work better.”

As Morgan heads off to Yale to make his mark on the world with his vast set of talents and unique voice, we’re eager to see what the spark of inspiration will create.
St. Paul VI Catholic High School is a private Diocesan Catholic preparatory school for girls and boys in grades 9-12 in Chantilly, Virginia, seeking to help our students Grow in Grace and Wisdom. Our school is part of the Diocese of Arlington and offers rigorous academics, an inclusive community focused on spiritual and leadership formation, and a proud athletic tradition featuring nationally renowned programs competing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association.

St. Paul VI Catholic High School is an accredited member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.