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Following her brother’s lead

Many younger siblings enjoy mirroring their older counterparts’ behavior.

While some children can pick up bad habits, Elizabeth Piotrowski picked a few good habits up from her big brother, Matthew, now a junior at James Madison University.

“My brother has been a real role model for me,” Piotrowski said. “He has a drive I really admire. He gets it in his mind what he wants to do and goes for it. He was involved with the Scholastic Bowl and Battle of the Brains first, and I look at where he is now, and I want to be there, too.”

Piotrowski, 17, followed her brother’s footsteps and became captain of the Virginia High School League Scholastic Bowl and Battle of the Brains at Isle of Wight Academy and will graduate with a 4.2 GPA and as valedictorian of its 2010 senior class.

“I received the Lead Marshall Award at the graduation ceremonies last year for having the highest GPA in the junior class,” Piotrowski said. “So, by the end of last year, I had an idea that I would be valedictorian, but it’s still exciting.”

During her high school career, Piotrowski played junior varsity and varsity basketball and volleyball and was stage manager for the drama club for the past few years, in addition to her roles with the Scholastic Bowl and Battle of the Brains.

“I’m not really sure how I managed everything,” Piotrowski said. “As long as I just stayed on top of everything, I was fine. It all worked out pretty good for me. I liked being involved in the school.”

Piotrowski’s college plans are to attend the University of Virginia in the fall to study biology, with hopes of attending veterinary school in the future.

“When I was little, after watching Jurassic Park, I wanted to be a paleontologist,” Piotrowski said. “I’ve always loved animals, though. We used to find opposums, squirrels and just a few weeks ago I found a bird that I nursed back to health after they’ve been injured. I’ve always wanted to help animals.”

Piotrowski is the daughter of Mary and James Piotrowski and has three brothers, Jim, Steve and Matthew.