VIENNA — Parkersburg High School senior Olivia Welch has known she wanted to become a veterinary technician since the early age of 6.
“I have known what I wanted to do since I was six,” she said. “Before that I wanted to be a princess and I chose this path because animals need protecting. If we don’t protect them who will?”
As a veterinary technician, Welch plans to put animals first. Throughout her life she has had to put down more animals than she can count, due to old age and medical conditions. She said she has had to say goodbye to five dogs, four guinea pigs and a gecko within the past three years.
“I have walked into a vets office with my pet and walked out without them. No person should have to do that ,” she said. “Being a technician means that I get to help animals walk out of the office.”
After high school, Welch plans to attend the University of Kentucky to follow her dreams. She said it felt like home the moment she first stepped foot on campus. She will earn a business degree in order to open and operate her own animal clinic.
“I want to major in business and minor in biology and English,” she said. “The plan is to become a veterinary technician and open my clinic where even people who can’t afford to take their animals to get medical care can bring them. An animal shouldn’t suffer because an owner can’t afford their care.”
After college, she wants to come back to the area to build her clinic and an animal shelter along side of it. If that doesn’t pan out, Welch will use her minor in English to become an elementary school English teacher.
Welch is a PHS student with a 4.125 GPA. She has taken AP courses like U.S. government and English literature to challenge herself and improve her grade point average. She also is a member of the Big Red cheer team and the Acapella Choir. Welch has been cheering since she was little girl.
“Cheer means that I get to have a sisterhood that will last forever, even after we aren’t on the same team anymore,” she said. “Those are my girls and I’ll love them forever.”
Welch’s mom and uncle introduced her to choir and she has been singing since. She has been a member of the PHS Acapella Choir since she began her high school career.
“It helps me express my emotions even when I can’t put them into words,” she said.
Welch stays active on a daily basis. She works two jobs. One at JR’s Donut Castle and a part-time job at Rue 21 in Grand Central Mall.
“I love getting to know the customers, especially the regulars at JR’s,” she said. “I love my co-workers (at Rue 21) they are like my family.”
In her spare time, Welch loves to spend time with her friends and her family. She is an only child, but has two dogs, Brownnie and Ella, and two cats, Journey and Little Bear. Her dad is her biggest supporter, and her mom is her best friend and her biggest role model.
“She is the strongest person I know,” she said. “She takes care of people even when they don’t want it.”
Writing is one of Welch’s favorite hobbies.
“When I’m writing my imagination is free and can run wild,” she said. “Writing is a way that I can talk about things that are important to me, or I can just be a kid again. I think it’s good to stay a kid as long as possible because your only young once and when it’s gone you can’t get it back.”
James Dobbs can be reached at email@example.com