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Lawler leads the Raiders' charge

The school's student body president is also a top runner on the trails
by: David Ball, Reynolds senior Missy Lawler heads up a hill during a recent cross country meet at Laurelhurst Park in Portland.

Reynolds senior Missy Lawler knows how to get things done. When she first joined the Raiders' cross country team as a sophomore, she decided that she wanted to qualify for the state meet. Three months later, she was standing at the starting line in Eugene.

When she got to high school, she knew that she wanted to be involved with school politics. After the election results were counted, she found herself as student body president. She is the only junior to ever hold that honor at Reynolds and was re-elected to that position this year.

When she saw the snowy owl costume, she knew she had to find her way inside. Lawler auditioned for the play and got the part. She was 4 years old.

'It's my first memory of performing,' Lawler said. 'I got to sing a song, but mostly my job was to run around and be a distraction to the audience.'

Lawler has craved the stage ever since, performing for 11 years with the Krayon Kids Threater Group. Her mother, Cathi, remembers her putting on shows in the family's sunken living room as a toddler.

'As soon as she could talk, it became obvious that she liked to be in front of a crowd,' Cathi said.

Her passion for the limelight carried over into politics. The family was active in the Measure 11 campaign concerning juvenile sentencing in the mid-1990s, and her parents spoke at various rallies.

'We would bring her with us and tell her to stand nearby and listen,' Cathi said. 'Then I would turn my back to talk to someone, and she'd get up onto a box or whatever she had to climb onto to reach the microphone.'

She continues to be active in various political causes and was the first junior to be voted student body president at Reynolds. Lawler was re-elected to the same position for her senior year.

'I really like to be involved and show other students the right things to do, as far as setting goals and getting on the right path with school,' Lawler said.

She is also involved with the Multnomah County Youth Commission, helping middle school girls make the adjustment to high school in a program similar to Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Lawler is usually followed on the cross country trails where she takes off with the lead pack once the starting gun goes off.

'She's critical to our success,' Reynolds coach Tadd Reaney said. 'You need to have that person that can reliably challenge for first or second at every race.'

She won her first varsity race last week on the Raiders' home course and has qualified for state in her first two seasons. Lawler hopes to make the trip to Eugene with a bunch of her teammates this fall (see sidebar).

'I'm ready to take a team,' Lawler said. 'We've all worked so hard this season, and we shouldn't be represented by just one person.'

In addition, Lawler holds a 3.8 Grade Point Average and is taking a handful of college-level courses this semester. She is also a standout member of the Reynolds dance team.