By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published Thursday, June 9, 2011
Chestatee High School graduate Britni Esson has learned many lessons during her four years in high school. One is the importance of hard work.
For her efforts, Britni earned the title of salutatorian in the 2011 graduating class of the Gainesville high school, the second highest academic honor in her class.
The daughter of Deborah and David Esson, parishioners of St. Michael Church, Britni excelled in her academics but also served the Gainesville parish.
She said she loves being an altar server and an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at St. Michael. Chosen as youth of the year from her parish in 2010, she also has served as a sponsor in the parish RCIA program, assisting a person studying the Catholic faith and preparing to become Catholic.
Dedication to hard work, but also a balance between work and play, really became a focal point for her in high school, Britni said.
“You have to stay focused on everything, but also keep a balance between school and family and friends and making the most of your experiences,” said the young woman. “You have to keep that balance between school and passions.”
A member of the Honor Society, an academic club, and an active participant in the theater program, Britni seems to have figured out that balance quite well. She spent all four years as part of the theater group at Chestatee, which has an enrollment of over 1,100 students, and while it consumed a lot of her time, she wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“I just loved every minute of it,” she said.
Ernest Davis, a history teacher she had her freshman and sophomore years, really set the tone for her ambitious high school career, she said.
“He was the one who taught me that hard work gets you places and that you will be rewarded for your hard work and keeping your goals in mind,” said Britni.
This fall Britni will be enrolling in classes at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega. She is interested in majoring in the health care field, specifically discerning a career either in counseling or nursing.
“I’m kind of teetering between going into community counseling versus nursing,” she said. “I know I want to go into something in the health field, but I’m debating between the mental health side or the physical health side.”
She hopes her experience in high school will help others and was quick to offer her wisdom to incoming high school freshman. Placing emphasis on what helped her, Britni mentioned the importance of staying focused but allowing time for other activities outside of school.
“Stay focused and keep the goal of graduation in mind,” she said. “But also find something that you think is fun through extracurricular (activities) or volunteering or sports,” because sometimes the pressures of school can be overwhelming, she added.
“I just love volunteering at church, doing the altar serving and the extraordinary ministry,” Britni said.