Perfect attendance only one way Indiana Township student stands out
From August to June, from kindergarten cute to senior serious, Amanda Todd went to school, never late and never missing a day of class.
When she graduated last Sunday from Fox Chapel Area High School, perfect attendance — for 13 years — was just one of the honors awarded at the Senior Awards Assembly.
More than a decade ago, Amanda heard about a girl who had never missed a day of elementary school.
Amanda set goals and then worked to reach them; one goal was to attend school every day.
“Some days it's tough, I guess,” she said. “It's hard after a late lacrosse game and I think maybe I should sleep in. But, in my family, we have educational values. I enjoy learning.”
Amanda earned highest honors in advanced classes. She raves about psychology and anatomy, where she got to dissect a sheep brain.
Along with class work, Amanda volunteered at a rehab unit and got to see a knee replacement procedure. She has volunteered at Magee-Womens Hospital and the VA in Aspinwall as well.
“I like helping people. It's a focus,” she said.
Amanda used her experiences to confirm her career choice. This fall she will attend Clemson University to major in health science with a business minor.
Amanda isn't sure where she will end up.
Her parents are transplants to Pittsburgh, but Amanda — though born in Virginia — is a Steel City girl who roots for the Steelers.
This summer she will work as a lifeguard at Chapelgate Swim Club in O'Hara. In addition, she works at Andy's Camp and the Christ Church vacation Bible school.
Amanda will continue her high energy involvement in a variety of activities. She was the only senior to participate in three seasons of sports all four years in high school. She was on the cross country, swimming and track teams before switching to lacrosse as a sophomore.
She credits her involvement in sports for her general health.
Not surprisingly though, she doesn't eat junk food, instead snacking on fruits — her favorite is watermelon.
And she tries to get enough sleep, even if it means some catching up on the weekend.
The health-conscious teen credits washing her hands frequently, too.
Amanda said, with a laugh, that when she babysits she makes her charges scrub their hands, especially before eating, even though they grumble.
Her down-to-earth attitude makes her a ‘heavenly' kid, earning her another award from Christ Church in Fox Chapel where she was named Outstanding Young Citizen and earned the Rector's Service and Leadership Award.
“It's been a busy year. It's nice to be rewarded and recognized,” Amanda said.
She was recognized by her classmates when she was voted prom queen in May. Her sparkling ‘diamond' crown is a symbol of the respect she has earned from the senior class.
She served as secretary of the student council and spearheaded a service project at the local veterans' hospital.
Her mother, Patty, said, “This child does not limit herself.”
In the Todd's Sandra Lane home, the mantle over the family room fireplace is stacked with pictures from sports teams, awards from church, and a crown and prom flowers from school. Yet, Amanda raves about her older siblings.
“They kept me in line,” Amanda said.
Her mother adds, “She was at everybody else's (activities), seeing them so high achieving.”
Just as Amanda credits her family and older students as role models, it's easy to see Amanda is another example for younger kids.
Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.