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Olivia Greenwell is giving up cleats, curveballs and corner kicks for Calvin Klein and forgetting about fielding ground balls to focus on Gucci.
For the John Hardin High School senior, the next month is the last of her athletic career. While many of her fellow graduates will prepare for their freshman year of college later this summer, Greenwell is taking the path less traveled – to one of the most heavily traveled places in the country.
Greenwell is an early acceptant to New York’s fashion-focused LIM College in midtown Manhattan.
“That’s the only thing I’ve ever been interested in,” said Greenwell, who wants to become a buyer for collections and stores. “I’ve thought about other careers. Like being a doctor, I thought about that. But it just really didn’t sound that exciting – well, I mean of course being a doctor would be exciting – but I never really had an interest in anything other than fashion.”
During her time at John Hardin, Greenwell has had an interest in sports.
She was on three varsity teams as a freshman – basketball, soccer and softball – before focusing on the latter two sports her final three years.
A midfielder in soccer, she was a first-team All-Area selection when she led the team in scoring as a junior and was an honorable mention pick as a sophomore and senior.
“There are so many things to like about her. She’s got great foot skills, which was really beneficial for us in the middle of the field, with a great work ethic and that tenacity that you need to have,” said girls’ soccer coach Brittany Carter. “I definitely think she could have played in college. There are certain aspects of her game that she would need to improve on, but she had the skills to play at some level of the collegiate level.”
In softball, Greenwell is the Lady Bulldogs’ primary pitcher. She was an All-Area honorable mention pick last season and is 10-11 inside the circle this year heading into today’s makeup game at 17th District rival Fort Knox. She’s also batting .433 with a team-high 26 hits.
“Olivia has meant a lot to our softball program and to all of us in general for a long time,” said softball coach Corey Yates. “Especially the last two years since she’s been the big dog on the mound. She’s one of the more natural leaders on the team. She’s very cool, very calm and very collected. Nothing ever gets her down and that’s the type of makeup that has made her into a solid type of softball player. In the past few years, she’s really come into her own on the softball field.”
While all of those sports occupied her time, Greenwell knew they weren’t where she wanted to spend her time in the future. Knowing that fashion classes are limited in offering and scope at higher-learning institutions such as Elizabethtown Community & Technical College and the universities of Kentucky and Louisville, Greenwell began to look out of state for college.
Greenwell’s first choice was the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, but she said her mom put the kibosh on that school because of costs and travel distance.
With FIDM out of the picture, LIM entered.
“My mom says, ‘Well why can’t you just stay here?’” Greenwell said. “For me, it’s go big or go home. And where better to go than New York City if you want to actually go big in fashion? I’m not going to go up there and just mess around. I want to go huge.”
In getting its graduates ready for the world of fashion, LIM is huge.
LIM, which opened in 1939, bills itself as the nation’s only college dedicated exclusively to providing an education in fashion business. LIM offers a master degree in business administration, an associate degree in fashion merchandising and bachelor degrees in fashion merchandising, management, marketing and visual merchandising.
Greenwell applied for early admission in the late fall and received her acceptance letter during the winter holiday break. While the admissions process involved numerous references and a five-page essay, Greenwell said she expected a bigger, heavier packet of forms to complete.
“Actually I expected it to involve a lot more than that,” she said. “I was thinking I had to have a portfolio and all that.”
Greenwell has been to New York four times, including once in the winter. She plans to return to New York soon to schedule classes and to familiarize herself more with the school as well as the city.
“I think the hardest thing will be knowing where to go and how to get around there,” Greenwell said. “I’m not nervous about making friends or anything like that, but being by yourself and not knowing anything or anyone, that can be scary.”
When she was younger, Greenwell professed that she didn’t know anything about fashion.
Forget about the Barbie dream house, she didn’t even want Barbie’s boudoir.
“I used to love to play football and my sister (Catherine, a John Hardin junior soccer and softball player) was the one with the Barbies,” Greenwell said. “I was a boy until about fourth or fifth grade. I wore cut-off shirts and boys’ swim trunks. You’d never think then that I’d be into fashion, but I don’t know. Something inside me clicked, but I really don’t know where it came from.”
Maybe not where it came from, but she knows where it’s taking her.
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at (270) 505-1758 or at firstname.lastname@example.org