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An academic, an athlete and an artist: Izzy Corbit made her time count at PSH

Published on Tuesday, May 23, 2023

izzy corbit

Fun fact about Isabella “Izzy” Corbit: she is great at organizing her time.

It is a skill that has helped her juggle many clubs and extracurricular activities during her high school career.

She is a talented volleyball player with a heart for art while maintaining an incredible work ethic inside and outside of the classroom.

Philip Simmons High is celebrating more than 160 graduating seniors this Friday at the North Charleston Coliseum. Corbit will cross the stage as the class of 2023’s valedictorian, graduating with a 5.448 GPA, state honors and more than $160,000 in scholarship offerings.

There is no denying that Corbit is a well-rounded student – but she remains very humble, and credits the support she has received from her family (at home and at school) in helping her find her way throughout high school.

As she prepares to leave Philip Simmons, Corbit recently reflected on her high school experience, and shared what she will miss about being a part of the Iron Horse community after she receives her diploma.


Academic endeavors

Corbit was born in Nebraska but lived in Ohio most of her life before moving to Berkeley County when she was in sixth grade. She previously attended Philip Simmons Middle.

Since coming to the Philip Simmons community, Corbit has thrived in her classes and beyond.

“I started as much as I could my freshman year, and I’ve just continued to add things,” Corbit said.

During her time as a student, Corbit took eight AP classes and three dual-enrollment classes. She will attend Clemson University’s Honors College in the fall, where she will be studying chemical engineering and looking at a possible career centered on bettering the environment.

“The Honors College has so many opportunities – so many research programs that would help my academics,” she said. “I’m excited to meet other people who have similar interests as me.”

The Honors College is home to academically-talented students, and it is a challenging route to take, but Corbit is no stranger to working hard.

This past school year, Corbit served as the co-editor of the Philip Simmons High literary magazine, The Anvil. She was treasurer for National Honor Society, Senior Class Council Vice President and National Art Honor Society Vice President. She was also a member of Beta Club and Spanish National Honor Society. izzy corbit

If she was not in one of her many clubs or student organizations, Corbit could be found spiking volleyballs or getting crafty in an art class.

On top of that, Corbit has scored a number of personal awards – a big one was being named a nominee for the U.S. Presidential Scholar Award. Nominees have historically been recognized based on SAT or ACT Scores, but the program has evolved to include other criteria. Since 2013, Chief State School Officers have been invited to nominate candidates from their states for the Academic/General Component category, and in 2016, outstanding students who demonstrated excellence in Career and Technical Education (CTE) were included for recognition.

Corbit enjoys school in general but named science and engineering as some of her favorite classes. She particularly doted on Philip Simmons High’s engineering program, which is led by Kathryn Sablotsky.

Earlier this month, Corbit was honored as one of Berkeley County School District’s top academic high school students during the annual Breakfast of Champions program. As part of that program, Corbit was able to name a teacher who made a lasting impact on her high school career; Corbit chose Sablotsky.

Sablotsky is also a volleyball coach at the school, so Corbit knows her beyond the classroom.

“She honestly has just been like a second mom to me in so many ways,” she said. “For volleyball, she’s so helpful, she’s so sweet and always very caring toward all the players.”

Corbit took two of Sablotsky’s engineering courses and said the experience solidified her decision to pursue engineering after high school. She hopes majoring in chemical engineering and learning more about the impacts of pollution will help her land a job that involves finding more eco-friendly ways to protect the environment.

“Especially living in Charleston – a place that is so nice,” she said. “I want to make sure it stays that way.”


Balancing act

When it comes to learning how to multitask, Corbit’s advice is pretty straightforward.

“Do what is important to you and just focus on being the best version of yourself possible,” she said. “I know that’s kind of a cliché…but that’s also my advice to myself.”

It is a skill Corbit acquired a while ago; Corbit joined Philip Simmons High’s volleyball program as a seventh grader, and she is a two-year varsity team member. flyer of izzy corbit reading "iron horse volleyball philip simmons izzy corbit - setter"

Corbit was a stand-out player this past year. Her team qualified for the state championship, and Corbit herself was an All-Region player and also set the single season record for assists with 508. She also received state recognition when she was selected to be a North-South All-Star player. Plus, Corbit was named MVP for the South Team.

In addition to Sablotsky, Corbit named Philip Simmons High social studies teacher and varsity volleyball coach Jay Watterworth as another influential staff member.

“He has so much passion for the sport and he cares about all of us girls,” she said. “He was great.”

Corbit was also very involved in her school’s art program. This year she took AP Drawing – which is the second AP art class – and loved it; Corbit’s medium is colored pencil and markers. Corbit said AP 2D art was another favorite class of hers (“So many memories from that class,” she said).

In January, Corbit was among the school’s art students who placed in the 2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Competition – Corbit was named a recipient of the Gold Key Scholastic Award & American Visions Award.

Corbit excelled in art under the guidance of art teacher Paige Duvall.

“She’s amazing – one of the sweetest people,” Corbit said. “I’ve loved all of my teachers – haven’t had a bad experience.”

It was a busy year, but Corbit is used to managing her time wisely, and utilizes planners and calendars to keep her on track.

“I’ve gotten into a habit of just going home, doing all the work I need to do, and then doing the extra fun stuff at the end,” she said. “Nothing crazy – no secret or anything.” 

She added that she considers time management to be very important for her career goals, so she has been committed to making it a healthy habit.

“I have so many ambitions for the future, that I feel like it’s important for me to do as much as I can now, so that I can set myself up for success,” she said.

When she finds spare time, Corbit enjoys creative journaling, scrapbooking and doing art for fun. She also really likes books – ask anyone else in the school, and they will say Corbit normally has her nose in a book.

“I read during class, outside of class, during lunch – all the time,” she said.


After high school

Corbit plans to spend this summer working and taking a few short vacations to see family and friends. She also has college orientation coming up soon.

She has decided not to pursue college volleyball – she might play intramural – but she is very excited about getting involved at Clemson University, and hopes to study abroad at some point.

The caveat to starting college is having to part ways with a school community Corbit has come to love.

“On one hand, I’m super excited and I’m ready, but on the other hand, I don’t want it to be over,” she said, adding that she will miss the school environment. “I really enjoyed coming every day…it’s definitely going to be a little bit different at college, but also exciting.”

Corbit is the daughter of Chris and Joanna and has a younger brother, Connor. Corbit named her parents as her biggest supporters, saying they never missed a volleyball game and encouraged her in every aspect of school.

“It’s just the little things…they were always there to support me,” she said.