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By Jesse Utz 

Senior Profile: Olivia Arnold

Jess Shut Up

 


I sat down with the young lady I call “Live” and learned a bit more about what makes her tick. I have known the Arnold family for a long time and have watched this senior at Lake Roosevelt bloom into an amazing adult, but I heard more than I expected in my sit down chat.

When I asked how her senior year is going she answered with an enthusiastic “Great,” followed by, “It is a lot less hectic than I thought it was going to be.” She said all this with that bigger-than-life smile she gets. She went on to explain that she had to make up extra credits this year and it was going better than she could have expected. There is a calmness, but fire, under the surface of this lady, and as we talked more and more she revealed where that drive was coming from.

“My dad (Kirk Arnold) has influenced me the most,” she said. “He has brought an understanding of God into my life, and without him and God I would be lost. My dad has taught me the most important things.”

As she said this, tears filled her eyes but the smile remained. As we talked about the other influences at Lake Roosevelt, she mentioned two staff members who have really meant a lot to her. “Shelly Black has helped me a lot with scheduling and keeping me on track, and Julie Friedlander has really pushed me to stay on top of things and succeed. But everyone at the school has played a part in my success.” As we talked more it was evident that she could not pick just one person who most influenced her during her high school career; it has been a team effort.

She is going to need more support like that too. She plans on being a missionary, and anyone that knows her already knows her heart is huge for those in need of hearing God’s truth. “I have applied to a missionary school in Cyprus and, if accepted, I will leave next January,” she said.

That schooling would consist of one month of training in Israel, then she would pick a country to go serve for four more months, and then she would come home for one month. She explained that after the rest at home she would repeat the process but it would be much more intense. Whenever she talked about Israel, her words were spoken with a real sincerity and joy.

Her family has spent a lot of time in that country over the last few years, the most recent time for three straight months. “Israel has made me who I am today,” she said. “That country opened my eyes to what’s important in life.” A seriousness had come to her face during this part of our talk, and I knew the importance of her words. “I found a future there, and I know God is calling me back there.” Powerful words from a woman just starting her mission.

Her advice for future seniors is simple and totally reflects her attitude: “Take it serious, but don’t stress; it is only one year out of your life.” This is coming from someone who has overcome Israel, family issues and running a business as a family. She ended our talk with these words, which I will never forget: “You will get through each day and each day leads you one day closer to where God wants you to be, where I want to be.”

Olivia will change lives, and I am glad to know her and cherish her heart. I can’t wait to see where God leads her.

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