Olivia Vanderbur

GREENSBURG — North Decatur High School senior Olivia Vanderbur has a 4.098 grade point average.

She’s taking advanced placement Biology and Chemistry classes. Vanderbur was a National Land Judging Qualifier, she’s the NDHS FFA Chapter President and District Sentinel, she’s in the National Honor Society, is a Senior Class Officer and a Student Council Member.

She’s also a member of Sunshine Society, the Tree City Mavericks Horse Club President, and a Junior Leaders Reporter. And, in her free time (as if she had any!), she likes to ride horses.

When one looks at resume’ and sees all that she’s involved in, one wonders.... ”What drives her?”

“Well, partially college, but mostly because I like to be with people,” she said.

“I’ve ridden horses for as long as I remember, and that’s my favorite thing to do,” she said. “And it’s the horses that got me into all the rest of it, I think.”

She joined FFA in 7th grade, and ever since then, she’s grown a passion for agriculture.

“I want to have an impact on something bigger then myself,” Vanderbur said.

Is she going to be a veterinarian?

“That’s the plan,” she said.

She plans to attend Purdue University.

When you speak to Olivia, she is very unpretentious. A charming girl who is entirely too busy to put on airs, and it’s very easy to see there’a great deal going on behind those eyes of hers.

But she doesn’t seem like the type to get too over-excited about anything. And if something doesn’t go her way, her pat answer being “that’s the plan” clues one into the fact that she’s just a cool-headed person.

“I applied for several scholarships through the county, like the Decatur Community Foundation, but the big one is I got $10,000 from Purdue for tuition a year,” she explained. “And I get that every year as long as I keep my GPA up.”

That’s impressive, to say the very least. This girl is going far.

She wakes up pretty early to go to work at a pig farm, and then goes to 7:15 a.m. FFA practices or meetings, and then goes on with her school day. After school, she stops by work again to check on the pigs, feeds her horse, and then goes home to do homework.

And recently, she’s picked up archery. The story, to hear her family and friends tell it, is that she became a very talented archer and then dropped the class in 7th grade.

And she’s just as good an archer as she was then...after not having shot an arrow for 5 years.

And does she have any idea how different she is from her peers?

“No, not really,” she said nonchalantly.

What does she want after college?

“I just want to be happy...I don’t care what that is. I’d like to travel a little but nothing’s set in stone,” she said.

And what is happiness to Olivia Vanderbur?

“To have at least two horses, maybe!” she said with an innocent chuckle.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email

Recommended for you