Kate Guerin can remember the rule, dating all the way back to elementary school. There was a time for sports, and a time for activities. But nothing got in the way of homework time.

“My mother’s motto was ‘School comes first, then sports,'” Guerin said. “And that’s the way I think. I think sports are a privilege, something that’s important to me and has been all throughout my life. But … academics has always been the first priority.”

Guerin’s high school career has been a testament to that. While juggling commitments as a three-sport athlete, the Mt. Ararat senior has never let her pursuit of success on the field come at the expense of her success in the classroom.

She carries a 3.99 GPA and sits fourth in her class, achievements that – combined with her four years on the varsity soccer, basketball and softball teams – earned her the Academic Ace award at the Varsity Maine Awards.

“I’m a perfectionist and I always try to put 100 percent into everything,” she said. “I always want to succeed.”

That drive isn’t limited to grades. She’s in the National Honor Society, and will attend Colby College next fall, a reason for the four AP courses that she’s been taking this year, or the spots that she has on the Student Senate, Interact Club and chamber singers group.

And then there are sports. Guerin has been a four-year starter for all three teams, and with the demanding course load it’s a combination that can be downright daunting.

“It can be hard when … you come home from a basketball game at 10:30 at night, and then you have three hours of AP work to do,” she said. “there have definitely been times when I’ve gotten three hours of sleep before school. But it’s really taught me how to manage my time well and how to make school a priority.”

Sports can be a hassle on top of everything else, but it’s not a burden to Guerin. She loves playing, and is even planning on trying out for softball and basketball when she gets to Colby.

In a sort of paradox, sports add to the workload, but can also ease it.

“You go to school all day, you work really hard, you do all your homework the night before, and then you go to practice and it’s like all the chaos that might have been going on during the day or all the things that have been whirling around in your mind just kind of come to a stop,” she said. “It’s nice to step into a world that separate from academics. I never thought of giving up a sport to have more time for school.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

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Twitter: @dbonifantMTM