Anne Goulet could pose for a billboard advertising the virtues of youth.
Brown-eyed, overwhelmingly self-confident, the 17-year-old John Carroll senior is tanned and charming.
She's the sort of student school administrators pray for -- a National Merit finalist, a volunteer at soup kitchens for the homeless in Baltimore, and an artist with stacks of awards. She even designed her own teal-colored prom dress.
The young woman exudes the carefree spirit of someone who has never failed.
"Most of the time when Itry to do something, it turns out at least OK, if not right," she says.
This isn't boasting. Anne's teachers at John Carroll will tellyou that the teen will graduate fourth in her class May 26 and that in her senior year she took five Advanced Placement classes, including two advanced calculus classes.
"I was the only girl in the harder calculus class," notes Anne.
She's been accepted as one of 80 freshmen into the architecture program at the University of Virginia.
"(Architecture) wasn't a tough choice. Obviously I like math a lot.And I enjoy art," says Anne, who won Best in Show in the school art festival her sophomore year and landed second place her junior year. For this year's show, held this weekend, she entered acrylic paintings.
When asked to describe herself, Anne sees herself this way: "I like to do things for myself. It can come across as bossy, but I consider myself independent."
When you wonder where all this confidence comes from, the teen-ager suggests maybe her parents, both engineers, have something to do with the trait. Her father works at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground and her mother works at the Army's EdgewoodArsenal.
The Aberdeen resident doesn't think of herself as studious, though she was named "Most Studious" for the high school year book, she says, rolling her eyes.
"It didn't seem like me at all. I do my homework, but you won't find me at home on weekends. I'm at a party or with friends or on the phone. My mother's biggest complaint isthat I'm always on the phone.
"I get involved in a lot of activities," she adds. Among the activities: working with the Special Olympics, helping with vacation Bible school at her mother's church, playing softball, and holding various school offices.
Summers, she worksas a lifeguard at Swann Creek in Havre de Grace.
At the recent John Carroll fair, she had her own booth where she drew portraits of people to raise money for the school. And this year she put her artistic bent to work designing the set for the school play.
"One of my parents' complaints is that I do too much," says Anne, "But I know just about everybody at the school."
From the happy perspective of 17, Anne enthuses about existence.
She loves her friends. "We're really close. We exchange secret gifts," she says.
She loves her teachers. "In four years I can't remember having a bad teacher here."
She talks about the importance of having moral values, a sense that "there's gotta be some meaning, some hope for all problems in the world."
In the yearbook next to her name, Anne chose an oft-quoted truism culled from a philosophy book: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."
Anne says her outlook on life and the future is, "Most seniors are going off to college, and we have to make the commitment or we won't get anywhere. Life is like the Nike commercial: 'Just Do It.'"