Ryan Parncutt had no shortage of memorable moments during her four years at Edgewood High School, and certainly no lack of involvement. Like many others, the recent graduate’s life changed when schools were closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because Parncutt was always on the go — between soccer, multiple jobs and her participation in nearly a dozen clubs — she seldom had time to spend with her family.
“I’ve kind of enjoyed all this, being able to spend time with my family,” she said. “I feel like this time makes you recognize all the time that you had this year, and how to live in every moment.
“[My family and I] wouldn’t sit down every night and have dinner because I’d be soccer practice or soccer games or lacrosse or anything. So that definitely was one of the biggest things I cherished during this time. You had to stay in the house with your family. I’d see all my friends saying, ‘oh, I can’t wait to get out of the house,’ but I was just like honestly loving the time at home.”
It was certainly a change of pace from her usual routines, which would include being part of the morning announcement’s team at Edgewood High and balancing class with after-school meetings. That’s not to mention sports practices, all while holding a job at the Maryland Golf and Country Club and helping another family out with babysitting responsibilities in the evenings.
“It was just fun, because soon enough I’ll be off in a different state doing my own thing, you only have so much time to be around,” she said. “So it was kind of a nice thing, actually, because I had to be home with them and it made me realize that.”
Parncutt said she had planned to move in with the Gerald family in Virginia Beach, near Old Dominion University, where she will be attending in the fall and playing soccer. Parncutt met the Geralds through her job at the country club and eventually landed a job sitting their daughters throughout last summer. She continued to work for them throughout the year.
“They’re great, the kids are 9 and 11, they are like my little sisters,” Parncutt said. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Parncutt said she’d see the kids almost every day. She would FaceTime with the two girls to help them with school work and then started visiting regularly again in May, once restrictions started getting lifted.
Steve Gerald called Parncutt “a godsend,” who would pick up their girls from school and help them with homework. She’s also a “very positive role model” for their kids who, as an athlete, has “inspired them to maximize their potential.”
“She’s amazing with building self-confidence for the girls, she would put notes in their lunchboxes, ‘You’re incredible, you’re amazing,' things like that,” Gerald said. “She’s just very patient and great with kids,” attributes he agreed would help Parncutt in the future, as she intends to pursuing coaching after college.
It was “totally coincidental” that the Geralds would be moving from Bel Air to Virginia Beach around the same time Parncutt is starting college there. Gerald said his wife recently took a job with a hospital in the area, prompting their move from Harford County. “I expect [Parncutt] will be around the house a lot, sort of a home away from home for her,” he said.
At Old Dominion, Parncutt plans to study business administration with a minor in health care, she said. She will also be part of the Division 1 women’s soccer team, although what her first year of soccer will look like is anyone’s guess, as COVID-19 could continue to affect fall sports seasons at every level.
“They’re looking at playing games within our conference, but only the ones that are supposedly drive-able. They’re trying to avoid flying so much because of how risky it would be,” she said earlier this month. “Nothing has been finalized, but to my knowledge, we’re going to have a season.”
If her high school career is any indication, she’ll find plenty of ways to keep busy at college besides soccer and class.
Parncutt, who was voted homecoming queen in the fall, was the huddle leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Edgewood High for two years and most recently served as its charitable activities coordinator. She was also class vice president and part of the Student Government Association.
Prior to her senior year, she was president of the STARS Club, which stands for Students Taking A Responsible Stand. As a senior, she remained part of the group, which would work on activities that raised awareness of the dangers of drug use, particularly heroin, including meetings with county officials to get insight into the importance of educating people about those substances, she said.
One of her favorite activities was being part of the morning announcements crew for three years. “That was great, I love that. I love being around those people and being able to start every day welcoming and acknowledging the school and sending them off with a positive attitude,” Parncutt said.
Her involvement in so many groups and activities — while also enjoying academic success that allowed her to be a member of multiple honor societies — is not only her biggest accomplishment, she said, but it allowed her to meet a number of different people at Edgewood High and get to know their different viewpoints too.
“As an Edgewood student, we see so many different types of people there. I was never with just one friend group, I pretty much knew everyone and was in a million different friend groups,” Parncutt said. “I think I realized that everyone can pick who you want to be, and that’s how you define yourself: You choosing who you want to be because no one else can do it for you.”
And those are words she’d like to leave with her fellow Edgewood graduates.
““You chose who you want to be. I think that can go many ways. You can choose who you want to be sports wise, you can play how hard you want to play. But then also in the classroom, if you work hard and study and everything it’ll pay off,” she said. “And then in life, if you work hard for what you want to do, you choose what you want to do with it.”