LAKE CITY -- For Tori Oliver, life at Lincoln High School has been a long list of activities and academics, but one activity she joined her senior year has had a big impact on her future plans.

“This year I joined Business Professionals of America,” Oliver said. “I loved it, and I wish that I had joined it earlier. I got to go to state in two categories.”

She liked the format of the BPA competitions. She got to choose which categories she entered and found that thinking about business plans and marketing strategies suited her well.

Tori Oliver takes a moment to celebrate her fourth place finish at the sections speech meet her junior year. Photo courtesy of Tori Oliver
Tori Oliver takes a moment to celebrate her fourth place finish at the sections speech meet her junior year. Photo courtesy of Tori Oliver

“I recruited one of my friends, Ava Wallerich, to join me, and we were part of a global marketing team,” Oliver said. “We were given a scenario, and we were to present a marketing plan. They want to see your creativity and how you can back it up with some business principles.”

Oliver said she enjoyed researching and brainstorming the possibilities for the projects and then narrowing down the presentation for the judges at regionals and state.

“We got a really good response,” she said, “so that was nice to see all of that hard work pay off.”

Next year, Oliver will attend Drake University in Des Moines where she will double-major in advertising and marketing. She said her participation in BPA confirmed her decision.

“I would like to work at an ad agency, working with companies in the sense of a brand ambassador, maintaining and promoting their brand,” Oliver said. “I would like promoting new products and understanding how consumers interact with big business.”

Academics are important to Oliver, and she has excelled in her classes, but she is also a well-rounded student. She was involved in the robotics team, speech team, math league, Spanish Club, and Key Club where she was president and participated in several community service projects.

She plays alto saxophone in the jazz band and marching band and joined the all-school play this fall.

Tori Oliver, center, shares a moment with her two band teachers, the late Paul Holland, left, and Eric Stashek. Photo courtesy of Tori Oliver
Tori Oliver, center, shares a moment with her two band teachers, the late Paul Holland, left, and Eric Stashek. Photo courtesy of Tori Oliver

“I have been trying to make the most of my high school experience,” Oliver said, “and with the play, I found another thing that I wish I would have joined much earlier. I definitely had a good time with that.”

Oliver started playing volleyball in fourth grade, and it remained an important part of her life throughout her school years. This year she was a team captain.

“I am so thankful for everything I have learned through that program,” she said. “It’s taught me how to be part of a team and how to dedicate my time and effort to something bigger than myself. I loved being part of a team and supporting my teammates and cheering them on.”

In volleyball, she loved the teamwork, but in track and field, she discovered that distance running gave her a personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Tori Oliver serves during a volleyball match at Lincoln High School in Lake City. Oliver loved the sense of teamwork encouraged by the sport. Photo courtesy of Tori Oliver
Tori Oliver serves during a volleyball match at Lincoln High School in Lake City. Oliver loved the sense of teamwork encouraged by the sport. Photo courtesy of Tori Oliver

“It’s been nice to see myself grow mentally and physically, because when you are out there running, you realize how hard it can be sometimes,” Oliver said. “It has been something that I’ve loved throwing myself into year after year.”

Oliver described herself as “self-motivated” and said she enjoys challenging herself to get better, a pattern she has used consistently throughout her years at Lincoln High School. Her guidance counselor, Jessica Holst agreed.

“Tori is simply an exceptional young person,” Holst said. “She’s ranked number one in her class. She has a 4.0 GPA, and you would almost never know that, because she is so incredibly humble. She epitomizes a standout student or a role model in our building.”