- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Amber Walton describes herself as a shy person. On the outside, one would never know.
She smiles with ease and speaks confidently of what she has accomplished and what she perceives as her future.
The Halifax County High School senior is the top-seed in the high jump for the school’s girls indoor track and field team. She will compete in that event as well as in the 4x400-meter relay and the 4x800-meter relay events in today’s Northwest Region Indoor Track & Field Championships in Landover, Md.
Walton has other talents as well.
She recently placed second for Halifax County High School in the district Poetry Out Loud competition, and she will compete in a regional competition in the near future. In addition to being a good student, she is also an active member of the high school’s Ruriteen Club and has her sights set on going to college and pursuing a career in dental hygiene.
Walton also does volunteer work at The Prizery, has recently landed a role in the theatrical production “Dream Girls” and is involved in church. In short, she is something of a renaissance girl.
“I’m a very shy person, but I want to do things because I know I can do it,” Walton explained.
“In elementary school, I would never have seen myself doing all of these things. I could never imagine myself clearing the bar in the high jump, but I could. I got
involved in things in which I had to be confident in myself, be in front of people and speak and not be afraid of what they think about me.”
Walton will be pursuing new heights in the high jump in today’s Northwest Region meet, all the while hoping to reach a mark that will qualify her for the state meet.
“The most fun event is the high jump,” Walton pointed out.
“You can push yourself to do something you thought you couldn’t do.”
She freely admits she is not the fastest runner, but she competes nonetheless.
“I wouldn’t say I’m the best runner, but I work at it, and that, to me, makes me the best runner I can be,” Walton remarked.
“It’s very tiring, but after you finish you feel refreshed and feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
Walton’s interest in track and field began while she was a student at Halifax County Middle School. Running track, she said, was a means to get into shape.
“As all young girls are, I’m self-conscious about my body,” explained Walton.
“I was saying I’ve got this, and I’ve got that, that I’ve got to try to tuck it in and everything like that. I don’t want to starve myself. That’s the wrong way to go about it. The healthy way is to get out there and do something about it. So, I started running track.”
Success and enjoyment of poetry came as a surprise to the Halifax County High School student. The two pieces of poetry Walton presented were “I Am The People – The Mob” by Carl Sandberg and “Her Head” by Joan Murray.
“I’m a teenager, and I like money,” Walton said with a grin.
“The flyer advertising the competition said win money. That’s what I wanted to do. I got involved not knowing what I would learn from it.”
The poem “Her Head” became a meaningful piece to Walton.
“That poem is awesome,” Walton remarked.
“It makes you look at things differently. It was like ‘I can do this.’ I can present this poem and have people feel the way I feel about it. I never saw myself as that kind of person. I really fell in love with it.”
Becoming involved in the high school’s Ruriteen Club also proved to be an eye-opening experience. She is in her second year as a member of the club.
“I like helping people,” Walton said.
“Like most Americans, I’m a very selfish person. This gives me a chance to step back away from myself and look at other things from a different view. I like that. “
Walton is a good student, a student working toward getting into college. However, things weren’t always rosy in the classroom.
“I failed the first grade,” she said.
“Since then, I’ve grown to realize that school is not a playtime. You’ve got to work to learn and better yourself. I just became passionate about it. It’s not that hard to do. Once you continue to do it, schoolwork becomes easy – at least to me.
“If you take the time, and it doesn’t take that long, to educate and better yourself, you will have a better life. If you don’t like working – if you don’t like real work like putting a thing here and taking this thing out and getting paid minimum wage, it’s worth it.”
Walton wants to pursue a career in dental hygiene after graduating from Halifax County High School and is looking for the right path to that career.
“I don’t have any definite plans, but I know that’s what I want to do and that I want to continue my education,” she said.
“There is no question I’m going to college. It’s not a choice. It’s just happening.”
Walton credits her mother, Adrienne Vaughan, for helping her become the well-rounded young lady she has become.
“My mom is my life coach,” she pointed out with a smile.
“My mother has always been the person to push me. She’s always been there for me. My mother has worked very hard to do her best by me, and I’m trying to do my best by her.”