Senior spotlight: Payne soaks up entire senior experience

Published 4:14 pm Monday, May 14, 2018

Olivia Payne’s senior year at Isabella has been an adventurous one in more ways than one.

Payne’s outgoing personality allows her to naturally relate with people and develop friendships fairly easily, which she was able to put to good use during her final year of high school.

She has attended Isabella since kindergarten and could not imagine spending her school years anywhere else.

“We’re a family here [at Isabella],” Payne said. “I know everybody by name, and this year more than any it feels like all of the social barriers and the clicks have really broken down. I’ve talked to people this year that I had never really talked to before.”

According to Payne, the 2018 senior class was determined to make it a memorable and shared experience for everyone.

“It kind of just happened naturally once we hit senior year,” Payne said. “We realized that this is it for us. It was the last time that we are going to see each other, and we wanted to make it count.”

Payne will be attending the University of Alabama on a business scholarship and plans to study marketing with a minor in English.

“When it comes to marketing, I’ve always thought that I am a very persuasive person, and I have an eye for what appeals to other people,” Payne said.

As an Alabama 4-H state ambassador she has had the opportunity to work first hand with a lot of business people and politicians.

According to Payne, she is ready to embrace somewhat of a culture shock as she transitions from being part of a senior class of 50 students to the massive numbers at the University of Alabama.

“I’m excited for the next chapter, but it’s also a little bittersweet,” Payne said. “This is all I’ve really ever known.”

One of the things that Payne is looking forward to most about college is the social aspect.

“I’ve always been an only child, so I’m excited to actually have roommates and sisters that I can be with on a daily basis,” Payne said. “It will be nice to meet new people. I love networking and socializing.”

A senior moment Payne will never forget was being a member of the homecoming court for the first time.

She took part in all of the school’s homecoming activities, which included riding in the parade and eventually the “euphoric” rush of hearing her name announced as homecoming queen.

“I was so nervous, but then all of the shaking stopped, and it was just a sudden moment of pure elation and happiness,” Payne said. “That was my highlight.”

Her involvement in 4-H has continued to grow over the years and required more of her time than any other extra curricular activity that she was involved in.

“I’m always on trips and there are lots of activities that come with being a state ambassador,” Payne said. “It has been difficult to balance at times, but the school has been very cooperative with excused absences and allowing me to make my work up.”

The various clubs Payne is associated with include the likes of Beta Club, SGA and historical society. She is also a member of the Scholars’ Bowl team and vice president of the Isabella FFA.

Another first Payne checked off her list during her senior year is singing in front of a crowd, which she did in a pair of talent shows.

Even as a senior Payne is still in the midst of trying new things and accomplishing firsts.

“It’s great to get up there and get out of your comfort zone,” Payne said. “I’m really exploring what I can do and pushing my boundaries.”

She was also able to take some dual-enrollment classes at Jefferson State Community College’s Chilton-Clanton campus.

Payne has a 4.28 GPA and scored a 30 on the ACT, which was the second-highest mark in the school.

“I wanted the real movie high school story, and I got it,” Payne said.