Caia Lytle is valedictorian at Pleasant View Christian School.
Lytle, a veteran of multiple sports teams at PVCS, said she is looking forward to taking the next step on her pursuit of education.
“I am going to Welch College to study psychology,” Lytle said. “Right now, I am planning on getting my master’s in occupational therapy to become a pediatric occupational therapist.”
She cites engagement in extracurricular activities as being valuable in shaping perspective and developing life skills.
“I think being a part of a sports team is very important for high school students,” she said. “Of course, it’s fun and it keeps you in shape, but some of my best memories were with my basketball or soccer teams. Because of sports, I become best friends with people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.”
She readily names some non-sports activities as well.
“My main hobbies are singing and playing the ukulele,” she said. “I literally sing all the time no matter where I am. It’s so fun, and it makes me happy.”
Ashland City resident Bambi Bandle, who is a musician and music teacher, said she knows Lytle from Bethel Free Will Baptist Church.
“She was once a student of mine,” Bandle said. “Caia is so full of joy, always smiling. She is so very talented vocally. She has a huge heart for missions.”
Lytle said that she loves her church family.
“I am very close to many of them,” she said. “They always support me in anything I do like sports, school and music. I am so thankful for everyone at my church. Thank you for always believing in me.”
She also cited her favorite Bible verse, Phillippians 4: 6-7 as being a source for pressing on, pushing through and lifting up others who need support.
“I personally struggle with anxiety and worrying and this verse is comforting to me,” she said. “It reminds me every day that God is in control, and He will give me peace.”
Lytle reflected on many others who have had an impact on her life, including her parents, Michael and Diane Lytle.
“Throughout my life, I have had many amazing people mentor me, but my main role models are my parents,” she said. “My dad is a genius in my eyes. He always pushed me to do my best in school because he knew I was capable of everything I accomplished. My mom is one of the most loving people I know, and I strive to become more like her every day. I am thankful for my relationship with my parents, and I don’t know where I would be today without them.”
Bethel FWB Church youth pastor Jon Forrest also praised the character of Lytle, who also happens to be his niece.
“Her beautiful heart is absolutely one of a kind,” Forrest said. “She’s always ready to serve in any way I ask. She especially is gifted with children who others find difficult to love. I’m thankful for her good grades, but I was a fan way before that.”
Lytle shared some challenges and accomplishments from her time at PVCS.
“The main challenge I faced was just finding enough time to complete everything I was involved in,” she said. “I played basketball and soccer throughout high school, and I am very involved in my church. It was often difficult for me to find enough time to do all my school work while also maintaining my GPA. I had to make a lot of sacrifices to earn valedictorian, but I am proud of myself for working hard and developing a good work ethic.”
She took time to reflect on the pros and cons of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on her senior year.
“Because of the pandemic, I didn’t get to play my senior soccer season or go on our senior trips,” she said. “My class also missed out on many memories that the seniors make at the end of every year at our school like senior chapel and senior prank. However, I have gotten closer to my family over this time, and I am working every day to save up money for college.”
She also has a personal goal that her heart holds dear.
“I am beyond excited to go to Welch and find a husband,” she said. “I feel called to have a family more than any specific career.”