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UCHS is just a snapshot in time for senior

Having lived in Michigan, Florida and Murfreesboro, as well as Erwin, a move to South Carolina this fall isn’t as intimidating for Unicoi County High School Senior Courtney Morrow as it might be for some. However, with graduation only days away and high expectations for the future, Morrow says she will rely on her education and experience to achieve her goal of majoring in international business.
Coming from a background of homeschool and private education, Morrow has been in the Unicoi County school system since her 8th grade year. After five years with the Class of 2011, Morrow said when she leaves for college in the fall, she will miss the close friends she has made during her time in Unicoi County.
“We’re all really close,” she said of her classmates. “Our class is pretty great. Everyone knows each other.”
At UCHS, Morrow is actively involved in student life and sports. For four years, she has been on the cross country and track teams and even started an all-girls soccer team at the school her sophomore year, which continued through her senior year, though there was no coach.
“We started it without a coach and organized our own practices,” Morrow said. “I did the business stuff on the team like raising money. We played other high school teams, like Elizabethton, at the ETSF Soccer Complex.”
Morrow said that while she enjoyed being on the team, it was difficult to lead a group of her peers.
“It was hard because it’s one thing to step up and be a leader when there’s someone above you,” she said, “but it’s even harder to lead your peers. It’s harder to get people your own age to listen to you.”
However, Morrow’s hard work paid off when Andy Frazier, youth pastor at First Christian Church in Erwin, began helping out with the team this year.
“He helped us this year with practices and getting donations and stuff,” she said. “I think he’s going to continue to help next year.”
Other than sports, Morrow is also involved in yearbook staff, Key Club, Beta Club, Spanish Club and Chinese Club. In fact, she was one of five students and the only senior to participate in the first-ever Chinese language class offered at UCHS.
In addition to her activities at school, Morrow also is involved in community theater and modeling. Represented by two agents – one local and one in New York – Morrow works for Barbizon in Knoxville and Model Management Group of New York. Since her 8th grade year, Morrow has done several runway shows for Gap, and this year she was involved in NASCAR promotions for Kellogg’s Cereal. While modeling keeps her busy, Morrow said she rarely has had to miss school because of it.
“Once or twice, I’ve begged my parents if it’s something that’s really important to me,” she said. “I like doing a lot of the stuff for Gap, so sometimes they’ll let me go early if I have to do a fitting or have my hair and make-up done.”
Despite having national modeling experience under her belt, Morrow said it hasn’t changed the way people treat her on a normal day at UCHS.
“I didn’t really tell a lot of people (about the modeling),” she said. “Usually, it ends up being other people telling other people. I get kind of embarrassed because I don’t want people to think I’m bragging.”
Morrow is hoping that her exemplary student record, her modeling experience and her community service will pay off when it comes time to apply to the University of South Carolina’s International Business program – rated the number one program in the nation for 14 years. While Morrow has already been accepted to USC, she said she will have to apply to the program her sophomore year in order to major in international business.
“I couldn’t decide between business and foreign language, so I decided to do both,” Morrow said. “I’ll minor in Chinese, and I have to apply in international business. There’s a 3.5 (grade point average) requirement, but all the students in the program had a 3.9 or better. But I’m really competitive, especially with academics.”
Morrow said she chose the program at USC because of its reputation.
“I chose it because of the program and because me and Dad went to tour the campus,” she said. “It was really elegant and beautiful.”
Morrow will move into an on-campus dormitory this fall to complete her studies at USC while also modeling on the side.
“I’m nervous, but I’m really competitive, so I’m going to go down there and do whatever I can to get my foot in (the international business program),” she said, adding that modeling experience doesn’t guarantee a job. “I’ll do modeling on the side, but you can’t be sure you’ll make it (in modeling). With college, I know I’ll get an education and have a job.”
Morrow said she has considered using her international business degree to start her own modeling agency after college, adding that time might change her mind.
For the next two weeks, however, Morrow is focusing on finishing high school and enjoying her summer. During her vacation, Morrow plans to work for two weeks at the Appalachian Christian Camp in Unicoi during Pathway week, during which she and other workers will prepare the camp for future campers.
In addition, Morrow will travel to China this summer through the University of Memphis. In China, she will attend classes with regular Chinese students and tour major attractions at night.
Morrow may seem accomplished for a 17 year old, a quality she credits to her parents. With nine brothers and sisters, Morrow said her parents are always careful to encourage them to be who they want to become.
“They’re very attentive to how different we are,” Morrow said. “They’re supportive of what I do and who I want to become.”
Morrow is the daughter of Glenn and Debbie Morrow of Erwin. She is the granddaughter of Minnie Morrow of Asheville and Edith Shultz of New Port Richey, Fla.