PCHS student Julie Guthrie is going places
By NEESEY PAYNE
She’s quiet, a bit shy at times, but has a heart and a determination to aim high and do the best she can in everything she does. Leaders are made every day and Pulaski County High School student Julie Guthrie is one of them. Guthrie has earned the distinction as a Commended Student in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. This honor is not an easy feat. Over 1.5 million students across the nation took the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Guthrie is one of 34,000 students being recognized for her academic promise – placing among the top 5 percent of those who entered the competition. This achievement alone is enough to celebrate, but being good enough isn’t an option, Guthrie strives to be exceptional. She attends the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School, is drum major of the Golden Cougar Marching Band and is team captain of the cross country and track teams. Guthrie was also one of four other students to be nominated for the Most Valuable Cougar award – a prestigious honor given to a student who exemplifies leadership qualities both in and out of the classroom. To top it all off, her goal is to graduate high school with a 4.0. Her favorite subject is band, where her talent in music comes naturally. Being surrounded by her fellow band members is like being at home. “It’s a very comfortable place. We’re like a family,” she said. Guthrie is in the process of applying for colleges and figuring out the path she wants to take in life. She said she’s thought about starting her own business, but the possibilities are still up in the air. As a senior, Guthrie is realizing that time is of the essence. “It seems like it was last year I was a freshman and now I’m a senior. I think that you need to enjoy everything while you can because time does move fast,” she said. Guthrie realizes that all of her achievements thus far would mean nothing without what she says is the most important thing in her life – her family. Her mother, Carol, and father, Joe, have influenced Guthrie greatly. Like any parent who has an exceptional child, Carol and Joe are proud of their little girl. “She has done a tremendous amount of work and that’s what it takes to achieve all that she has,” said Joe. “It’s pretty remarkable when I think back. It doesn’t feel that long ago that we were getting her in and out of the car in one of those car seats. We’re real excited about the next stage of her academics.” Joe said the thrill is wrapped in “excitement and apprehension.” “I’m most proud of the effort that she puts into everything she does,” Carol said. The awards are really just icing on the cake. I’m proud of how she makes sure that she spends her time in worthwhile pursuits and puts all of herself into what she does. It’s delightful to see this person who was once six pounds being autonomous, doing things for herself and really taking charge of her life.” “I hope that she goes where she wants to go, does what she wants to do, learns what she wants to learn,” Joe said. It’s possible if she sets her mind to it.” Guthrie said hard work does pay off in the end. She said in looking back on all that she has accomplished, the hard work doesn’t seem as hard as it did at the time she was doing it. “You look back and think to yourself, yeah I did this, and yes it took a lot of work, but I did it and the sense of accomplishment makes you really happy. It feels good,” she said. Guthrie has learned many things thus far in her life. “High school can teach you a lot. Some of the lessons are learned in more difficult ways than others. I’ve learned that it’s OK to relax and just have fun. I don’t need to try to prove something all the time,” she said. What happens when you put everything you have into everything you do? You learn that you’re strong, wise and well-equipped to conquer anything you set your mind to. Guthrie is realizing that everything she needs to succeed in life, she already has. Hard work will take you places and Guthrie’s journey is just beginning.