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Difficulties of Transferring as a Student Athlete

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Walther Senior James Owen

Walther Senior James Owen

Walther Senior James Owen

Marc Nistor, Senior Writer

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In today’s day and age private schools are closing at a staggering rate compared to years past. This sometimes leaves hundreds of students in a situation which they never thought they would placed into. Being a student athlete is extremely tough in 2018. A student athlete is expected to excel in their academics while also committing to a competitive team. When a private school closes, not only are students affected, but those students who participate in athletics are also heavily affected.

Last June, Luther North College Prep closed its doors after 108 years of continuous operation. The school closed due to severe debt and lack of funding which made running the school unviable for the future. Over 165 students and 15 staff members were displaced without a school to attend. Eventually, most students settled in on schools such as Walther Christian, Guerin Prep, DePaul Prep, and local public high schools. Obviously, change is very difficult to deal with for any individual regardless of age. On top of being required to understand and “fit in” to a new school environment, students who participated in athletics were forced to learn a new system and build chemistry with their fellow teammates.

Senior James Owen is a two sport athlete at Walther Christian  who plays basketball and baseball; with his main focus being basketball. He states that he chose Walther Lutheran because his parents chose the school for him, however this doesn’t mean that Walther is a horrible school because he ended up loving the environment. Basketball is his favorite sport because of how fun it is and he finds a great amount of fulfillment playing the sport. When attending his first day of practice, James stated that he noticed the team wasn’t going to be nearly as good to his former Luther team due to a smaller pool of talent. He also stated that Walther’s culture was very straightforward and easy to adapt too. Overall his largest obstacle to overcome was trying to be patient with his teammates and build them up instead of tearing them down.

Junior Eric Vanko is a three sport at Guerin Prep and he plays football, basketball, and baseball with his primary focus being baseball. The main reason he chose Guerin was due to the fact that he already knew former students that were attending and he knew that coaches wanted to play him many minutes for all his favorite sports. His overall favorite sport is baseball because his entire family has a connection with baseball and he started playing as a toddler at age 3. On his first day of practice he noticed that it was very similar to Luther North, however, practices went at a little bit of a faster pace. In terms of culture, Eric stated that adapting to the culture was relatively easy because at Luther North he had a new coach every year and was already used to change. His most difficult obstacle was getting a connection with his new teammates because he didn’t know the limitations of his peers on the field. All in all, he believed he had an advantage coming into the school because Luther North gave him the want to strive for greatness and spread that attitude to others.  

Senior Orion Heinosch attends Walther Christian and is the team manager of the baseball program of the school. He brings a different perspective as he doesn’t play the sport, but is still heavily involved in the culture of the team and works more behind the scenes of the sport. He chose Walther because a majority of classmates and familiar faces were planning on heading over to Walther. He doesn’t regret this decision whatsoever and is excited for the baseball teams potential this spring. He loves baseball due to the time of the year it is played (March – May), allowing for a comfortable environment for play. Additionally, the rules of baseball are extremely easy to learn and get into. On his first day of practice, he noticed a lot of new faces and even though it was a new environment; additionally the culture very easy to adapt to as well. His greatest difficulty was getting to know the roster, as there was 39 individuals on the team however with team he was able to get to understand them. He believes he was placed at an advantage as in years past, Luther and Walther were direct competitors and have interacted with each before the school closing. He believes that with the combined talent of both schools, they will be able to pursue a state championship.

Transferring schools is very difficult for any individual and the closing of Luther North was no different. However, with the mentality of being willing to adapt to a new culture and great teammates the transition is made far easier. Transferring schools can be a great learning experience or it can tear you down if you don’t try to overcome change.

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