This was originally published on HeraldCourier.com.
BRISTOL, VA, (October 29, 2017) — One young lady from Southwest Virginia isn’t horsing around when it comes to school. Or perhaps more accurately, she blazed her way through school so she could spend more time horsing around.
Kate Geisler, 15, has always been crazy about critters. She grew up with an amalgam of animals — everything from fish to hamsters to dogs. At age nine, she started riding horses and never looked back. Now she owns five horses, ranging from a small pony that was her first horse to a 17.1 hand thoroughbred that she is training to be a hunter and jumper. She and her four-year-old barrel racing horse she trained herself, Dixie Grace, recently won first place in the 3D Youth Division in Rural Retreat, Virginia, an accomplishment of which she is very proud.
“Horse riding is a major part of my life,” Geisler stated. “I’d much rather be out with my horses than doing anything else. Horses are pretty much all there is for me.”
The daughter of two lawyers, Geisler has never been allowed to skimp on school, in spite of her single-minded dedication to horses. Her father, who works with PennStuart law firm in Abingdon, Virginia, and her mother, a Virginia Supreme Court Justice, have both have encouraged her to make the most of her education. But Geisler was more concerned with getting school finished so she could spend more time at the barn.
When Geisler transferred from St. Anne Catholic School, a private school, to public school at Wallace Middle, she skipped the 7th grade and went straight into 8th grade. Upon entering 9th grade at Virginia High School, Geisler couldn’t wait to finish school, even though she was a strong student.
"Geisler was always a very inquisitive and passionate student," said Chris Cox, English teacher at Virginia High School. "Even as a freshman, she was very forthcoming and confident."
With her characteristic tenacity and drive, Geisler investigated options to speed up her studies. Her research turned up Penn Foster, an online curriculum that allows students to earn an accredited high school diploma. Geisler took online classes through Penn Foster while attending Virginia High School; the credits from Penn Foster transferred directly to her Virginia High diploma.