“You don’t sleep,” say the girls on Vicksburg’s volleyball team as they explain how they manage to excel in the classroom and in sports. Four members of the championship team have won partial academic scholarships when they head toward college next fall. They will also play volleyball and all four have chosen a curriculum in the sciences.
These girls have played travel volleyball since their freshman year in high school while piling up honors in the classroom. You need good time-management skills, they say. They claim they have no social life until the end of the school year. Each of them has earned at least a half of year’s financial backing through their ability in the classroom and the volleyball court. That they are highly competitive is acknowledged by each one, while being the closest of friends on and off the court.
Olivia Welch came to Vicksburg in the eighth grade from Kalamazoo and will be attending Adrian College. She has been a standout ever since she arrived, but she says it did take some getting used to. She has a 4.098 grade-point average and took six Advanced Placement courses (AP). She plans to major in exercise science with a minor in biology to become a physician’s assistant.
Shannon Scott is going to Trine University in Indiana on an academic scholarship that will pay half of her tuition. She carries a 4.07 GPA and plans to become a design engineer. “I love the coach at Trine. The team was third in the conference in volleyball. She’s a great hitter, like Shannon, so they were able to relate right away.
Natalie Glaes has chosen to go the farthest with a scholarship to Finlandia University in Hancock, a 10-hour drive from Vicksburg in the Upper Peninsula. She will enter the physical therapy assistant program and play volleyball for a team that doesn’t have a lot of experienced players. “It’s small and feels like home where you know everyone,” she says.
Taylor Rosenthal will take her talents to Albion College and enter their Institute for Health Care Sciences. This volleyball team is at the bottom of its conference. She is hoping to make it more competitive, as it will be playing against Scott and Welch’s teams. She has been given a $1,000 scholarship for four years along with her half tuition scholarship from the college.
They all will miss representing Vicksburg, according to Scott. “I will miss being part of something bigger than just being a high school student,” Rosenthal says. And Glaes will miss having her father, the district’s superintendent, being the loudest cheering person at all of her games. All of the girls enjoyed his enthusiasm.