By Owen Cupp
Parents tend to remember their child’s firsts. Their first steps, their first pet, their first school years. Zach Gullion’s father reflects on his son’s first year of school.
“Zach has a natural curiosity and he was always asking lots of questions,” Dr. Darin Gullion recalled. “He started doing math in preschool.”
Dr. Gullion, who is assistant superintendent for Delaware Community Schools, remembers that Zach was self-driven and always a hard-working person.
“Zach never had a problem doing required lessons and he combines his abilities with lots of hard work,” Dr. Gullion said. “He is very much a ‘learn on your own’ type person.”
Among his interests are electric cars, home remodeling, and investing.
Although not valedictorian, Zach still achieved a high honor in the class rankings for this school year.
He is the current salutatorian for the 2022-2023 school year. His accomplishments include graduating a semester early, attending Ball State University, and pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Development.
Zach was also involved in several clubs while he was in high school, including National Honors Society, Chick-fil-A Leaders Academy, Freshman Mentors, Ping Pong Club, Environmental Club and Spikeball Club.
He co-founded the Ping Pong Club with junior Kayden Thomas. In addition, he was the class vice president, played JV and varsity baseball, and took journalism classes for a couple of years.
Outside of school, Zach had a paid internship at the Delaware County Regional Airport and currently holds a job at Target that he first started in high school.
In high school, he worked hard to achieve where he is today, trying his best behind the scenes.
“I never like to admit to any of my peers that I worked hard for what I had earned because everyone wanted to be mediocre and nonchalant when it came to academics, but I did thorough and thoughtful work,” Zach said. “I’m so happy I did because it provided me with a path I never knew was available.”
Zach’s girlfriend, senior Emily Hayes, supported his decision to graduate early from Delta.
“In the end, I think it was the best decision for him, and he seems a lot happier with his decision now than he was before,” Emily said. “I’m honestly really happy and pretty proud of his decisions and what he decided to do.”
Zach is taking 15 credits at Ball State. The classes that he currently takes include HIST150 (History), HONR296 (Renewable Energy Course), FIN101 (Personal Finance), PLAN100 (Introduction to Planning), and PLAN498 (a 6-credit hour planning studio).
His weekly schedule consists of two classes Monday through Thursday, with three being on Friday. He believes that he got lucky, with his Monday through Thursday classes not starting until 11 a.m.
Since Zach has been in college, he felt that he was overprepared initially going into it.
“High school was way harder in so many ways,” Zach said. “At least for me, because I took it so seriously and tried so hard. My classes so far require more work, but I feel like I am really good at what I have chosen to do, and I feel really passionate about it.”
Zach also feels that his work ethic has been “overwhelming.”
“I know I work too hard sometimes, and I find it difficult to stay put and relax,” Zach said. “I have come to understand that I’m not actually as bright as I would wish, but rather that most of my success is due to my work ethic. I’m very lucky to have gotten to where I am even though I have a long way to go.”
With the school year wrapping up for both high school and college, Zach will continue working on his bachelor’s and then plans to pursue his master’s in Urban and Regional Planning in 2027.
Dr. Gullion knows that Zach will help contribute to a better future.
“He continues to be curious and is eager to learn and explore new interests,” Dr. Gullion said. “We are pleased with Zach’s academic achievements but more important to us, he cares about contributing toward a better future for all.”