Senior Julianna Kantner juggles activities in pursuit of something bigger

Elizabeth Kuffour, Staff Writer

For senior Julianna Kantner, it’s the feeling of touching the edge of the pool first, nailing a speech or watching an underclassman come out of his shell that drives her to work hard in each of her activities.

Her schedule is full, with each of her obligations blocked out on her online calendar, which she claims she can’t live without. Swim practices after school. Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) until 9 p.m. on weeknights. Business Professionals of America (BPA) conferences covering entire weekends throughout the year. National Honor Society (NHS) meetings one afternoon each month. Tutoring other students during seminar. Finishing homework in any free minute. One sick day could set her back for what seems like a week. And on top of it all, Kantner maintains her friendships.

Kantner’s love of public speaking and competitive events drew her to BPA, DECA and Competitive Speech & Drama, also called forensics.

“Public speaking is something I really like to do, especially in competition,” Kantner said. “In middle and elementary school, I always liked when we did the little debate units. I still love doing that kind of stuff.”

After winning the state DECA competition last year in Hospitality Services with 2018 graduate Ashley Ellis, Kantner was elected the president of the organization for this school year. Sponsor Beth Johnstone thinks Kantner brings both a friendly face and a competitive edge to the team.

“ her competitive drive to be the best,” Johnstone said. “If she’s gonna do something, it’s going to be the best she can do. Even if she has 10 other things to do, she’s going to follow through.”

Being a part of both an academic team in DECA, BPA and forensics and an athletic team in swim, Kantner has found the two to be surprisingly similar in nature.

“In swim, as much as you are a unified team, you’re also competing for spots on the relay team or at the state competition,” Kantner said. “It makes everyone as a whole better, but also creates a sense of competitiveness. It’s the same way with academics.”

Despite the constant rivalry with her teammates, Kantner strives to be a role model and a mentor in both athletic and academic extracurriculars.

“I put pressure on myself,” Kantner said. “Being a leader, I feel like I should show the success that I expect of other people and want my whole team to have.”

Kantner jumps at any chance to get involved, sometimes at her own expense. She often misses out on football games and spending time with friends. However, Kantner simply can’t refuse an opportunity to improve herself and others.

“I keep wanting to take on more,” Kantner said. “I have to learn how to say no. But I enjoy helping other people be successful and make an organization better. It is always hard to balance, but I love it all so I want to do it all.”

Even though her days are jam-packed with obligations, Kantner still finds time to show appreciation for those she loves most. While she could be sleeping in or getting ahead on homework before heading to school, Kantner spends every Thursday morning enjoying breakfast with her sister, boyfriend and grandmother.

“I look up to my grandma because she’s always shown so much compassion for others,” Kantner said. “She does everything she can to create a better atmosphere for the people around her, and that’s something I really admire.”

Kantner works to mirror her grandma’s qualities, always looking to boost the success of a club or team through her leadership. Kantner’s family has played a big role in her life, from keeping her motivated to modeling a good work ethic.

“Growing up, I watched both of my parents work very hard to get to the positions they’re in now, where they’re able to provide for their families and make a difference in the lives of others,” Kantner said. “I hold myself to that same standard of putting my everything into all the things I do. I think that if you work hard, you really can make an impact on the things and the people around you. You can grow as a person because you’re able to reach your fullest potential.”