Richland High School senior Amy Varmecky is a Roberto Clemente fan.
One of her favorite sayings is the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder's, "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth."
The daughter of Ralph and Barbara Varmecky is ranked in the top 10 in her class, teaches violin in her spare time, works on anti-bullying initiatives, is an editor for the school yearbook, helps maintain a local sports website, holds numerous leadership positions in school and is active in the community and church.
All of those things are done with a singular goal in mind. "I want to help people for the rest of my life," she said.
She is perhaps most passionate in two areas of her life.
As the president of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) she spends numerous hours during and after school organizing, planning and participating in events. "I want teenagers to make positive choices and this program can have a positive effect on their lives," she said. "This is very important to me."
With prom approaching, getting the message out has become her priority, she said.
As an active member of Resurrection Roman Catholic Church, she has been an altar server for nearly a decade and has helped with numerous community service projects and has even played violin during services.
"I'm very dedicated to my religion. It's probably one of the largest influences in my life. That and my family," she said.
Varmecky is also an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society. This year, she was named vice president of the NHS. During the past two years, she participated in Business Day at Saint Francis University, placing second with the team in 2010.
She has also won numerous awards in forensics competitions and was named student of the month in March.
She is the concert master for the Richland High School concert orchestra and the principle chair for the DelBorgo Chamber String Orchestra.
Music is one of the ways Varmecky relaxes from her busy schedule. "I've been playing violin since I was in fifth grade," she said. "Playing kind of calms you down when you're having a stressful day."
Teaching other students how to play is also a love of hers. "It's great to see them improving," she said.
She has played in the orchestra pit for two Richland musicals, including "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Oklahoma."
This year she was asked to play violin in the Conemaugh Valley production of "The King and I."
When she does a find a little time for herself, she likes to scrapbook, cross stitch, read and root for local teams like the Pirates, the Wheeling Nailers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The love of hockey came from watching her brother Brian Varmecky play hockey when she was younger. "The (Cambria County) War Memorial Arena was like my second home," she laughed.
Her brother and sister Stacy Varmecky were also high achievers and a clear influence on her life. "I've always looked up to them," she said.
Her future plans include attending the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and achieving a degree in psychology. A master's degree will likely be the next step.
She eventually wants to become a clinical psychologist and work in a medical clinic. "People always talk to me and I love to observe people. I think I can make a difference doing that," she said.