Student Spotlight: Zachary Hale

Meet Zach! Zach is a graduating senior at Mill Springs Academy in Alpharetta, GA. He lives in Downtown Woodstock with his parents, sister, and two dogs, Ginger and Fergus. He is a funny and sensitive guy who would love to have a career writing novels and screenplays. Zach loves movies and is a movie trivia master. He spends his free time working on his writing, creating stop-motion movies with Legos, and riding his skateboard or bike. Although Zach was diagnosed with Autism at age five, he has not let this diagnosis slow him down at all. His next step is to attend Chattahoochee Technical College to begin his pursuit of a degree in Creative Writing.

Zach is a part of Mill Springs Academy’s class of 2020.

How long have you lived in Woodstock?

About four years. Since my freshman year.


Where did you live before that?

Marietta in the Windsor Oaks neighborhood.


What do you like about Woodstock?

I like that we don’t have to get into a car to go out to dinner. I like that there are so many shops close by, I usually like to go to The Wright Stuff to look at comics, which sadly is closed down for the time being because of Coronavirus.


How has your school experience been since shelter-in-place went into effect?

It’s not exactly how I pictured my senior year but it’s going fine.

Zach lives with his family in downtown Woodstock.


Are you still going to be able to walk for graduation?

Yes, we are planning on it happening in June or July.


Have you already finished your classes?

Yes, I have.


What did a day in the life of school look like for you when you were taking classes online?

I get to sleep in a little. I usually wake up around eight, drink coffee, have breakfast, and go to class. But then we had to start wearing our regular clothes instead of our pajamas.


What’s the hardest part about it?

I guess just trying to get all the homework done and getting to talk to teachers. That’s really the hardest part, we don’t get to talk to teachers now as much as we did in school. It can be tough if I need to make something clear to them.


Do you feel like the workload has been more because it’s online?

I think so, I’ve had a reasonable amount of homework lately. 


What are your current plans after high school?

I’m going to college. I’ll be going to Chattahoochee Tech for a couple of years then I’m going to transfer to Reinhardt University to work toward my career in writing.

An aspiring novelist, Zach will be attending Chattahoochee Tech after graduation, where he will focus on creative writing.


What genre do you write?

I’m a writer of all genres, but my favorite is fantasy and science-fiction. I have many ideas, some I want to turn into books.


How long have you been writing?

For a long time, but I started getting serious about it during my freshman year.


What is your favorite activity outside of school?

I like to go out on my bike and my skateboard, even though I’m not very good at skateboarding. I also like watching YouTube and watching movies.


Who is the most interesting person, teacher, or coach you’ve met here in Woodstock? Why did you choose them?

Holly and Dave Peacos, they live next door to us. They are very kind, supportive and fun to be around. They are also terrific cooks and always have a supply of ketchup for me.


If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

Roadside America in Pennsylvania. It is home to the greatest miniature village in the world. It’s a giant landscape of miniature houses and figurines, it’s really incredible to look at. I’d also like to visit New York and maybe Yosemite.

Zach has a love for miniatures and collectibles.

What is your favorite book you’ve read in school and why?

To Kill a Mockingbird and The Warrior Heir. To Kill a Mockingbird was an interesting story and I liked it because it was written through the eyes of a child. The Warrior Heir was a great fantasy that was filled with adventure. It reminds me of the Harry Potter series.


What’s the best advice you ever received from a teacher?  Who was the teacher?

My creative writing teacher, Eric Khong. He taught me how to write dialogue in my short stories. I appreciated that and it changed the way I write. That was when I was a junior.


 If you could choose anyone that is alive today, and not a relative: with whom would you love to have lunch?  Why? And where in Woodstock would you meet for lunch?

Rob and Doug Walker. Their show on YouTube is my favorite, I watch them all the time. We would have lunch at Canyons Fresh Grill. I would want to get some writing tips from them. They are really smart with that kind of stuff. I would like to learn from the masters.


 What is your favorite thing or something unique you love about Woodstock?

I like all the shops and how it has its own style. I love the old-fashioned feel of the brick buildings. Woodstock feels retro to me.


Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?

Writing my second or third book.

Zach with his sister Sophie.

What age-group are you writing for?

Kids, young adults, and adults. I want my writing to appeal to everybody. I try to keep my ideas simple enough for kids to follow but also deep enough to keep adults interested.


Who/what inspires you to be better?

My parents, my teachers, and my older sister Sophie because she is responsible, secure, and knows what she wants to do with her future.


If you could go back over your entire school career, what is something you would do differently?

I would be more involved in things, less quiet, and more interactive. I would try to be more focused, less in my head all of the time.


 Who or what do you miss the most right now?

I miss my friend Miles from class. I also miss socializing with my friends and teachers at school.


What’s the first thing you want to do when this quarantine is over?

Go to The Wright Stuff, go bowling with my friend Miles, although we could probably do that now. I’d go to the pool and do more outside.

Class of 2020

Anything you would like to add?

Yes. I feel like a 14-year-old in a 17-year-old’s body – like my mental age has not caught up to my physical body. I feel like I am not growing up fast enough to take on the upcoming challenges in the future. Things are moving fast but I sometimes think I am not ready for the changes. Maybe I should slow down and take a rest this summer. Then, when college starts in August, I will be ready and take it one day at a time.


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