Student Of The Year

If you’re looking for the 2013 Student of the Year, Warren Area High School senior Katharine Ressler, you’ll have to look far and wide.

You could try her at home, but good luck finding her there.

Try Warren Area High School where Ressler’s been on student council for four years (secretary in ninth and tenth grade and the treasurer in 12th grade) or a French Club meeting (ninth through 12th grade), the recycling club (11th and 121th grade) or on the soccer field holding down the line as a right defender. “I love defense, it’s my favorite position,” Ressler said, adding she plays year round between the high school, Kinzua Traveling Soccer and the indoor league at the Lakewood YMCA in New York.

Still can’t track her down?

Try Warren General Hospital on a Sunday and you might find her volunteering behind the outpatient and inpatient desks where she’s been volunteering since the eighth grade.

“My favorite part of volunteering there is delivering flowers to patients, just because it’s a nice thing to be able to do. You can see the smile on their faces and know you helped make their day a little bit better. That’s probably my favorite part,” she said.

Ressler will enter the physician assistant program at Gannon University at the end of the summer, which is not surprising considering her favorite classes at the high school were biology and chemistry and she’s logged more than 300 hours volunteering at the hospital. “I think just being in the healthcare setting kind of helped me figure out the path I want to go down,” she said. In the 10th grade Ressler was awarded the Golden Dragon Award for volunteering at the hospital after the staff nominated her for the award. Her volunteer work doesn’t stop there – Ressler’s also been a volunteer for four years at the Victim Impact Panel and in 11th grade she volunteered at St. Joseph’s Pastoral Council.

“When I hit high school I knew I wanted to go into a profession that would help people, and provide care,” said Ressler. For a couple of years she thought about being a nurse and then during a spring open house at Gannon University she sat in on a information session for the physicians assistant program. “As I was sitting there and they were explaining everything I knew as soon as I heard…that’s what I wanted to do.”

She’s looking forward to taking science classes at Gannon, including anatomy where she’ll have to dissect a human cadaver. “It’s probably going to be a really interesting class. I’m actually kind of looking forward to it…the first time might be a little rough, but after that I think it’ll go okay.”

Outside of the classroom and off of the field Ressler’s been working at Shurfine, where she’ll continue to work throughout the summer, as a cashier since December of her junior year. She’ll take a break before starting classes at Gannon – by also babysitting four young girls two days a week. “It’s so much fun,” she said, “they’re really good girls to be around.”

Between school, soccer, and volunteer work, Ressler credits her parents, Janice and Terry, with helping her stay on track. “They help me during good times and when I start to loose my cool…they always talk to me and tell me “you’re going to be okay, you’ve done it before, you can do it again.””

“It’s gets pretty stressful at times, but I just try and manage my time really good. I always make sure homework gets done first. Thats my priority. I always get that done first. I always make sure to make good use of my time,” said Ressler

She also credits the teachers she’s had over the years at Warren Area High School. “I have to say all of the teachers I’ve had throughout my four years at the high school have been so helpful and encouraging and honestly I can’t thank them enough, because what they’ve done for me means a lot.”

If you were looking for her yesterday evening you could have found Ressler walking across the stage at graduation.