Elly Weber and Raeghen Behnke
CHS Feature Article
Opportunities come and opportunities go. Are you missing out on an opportunity? An opportunity to inspire others, to achieve what seems like the impossible. When you look at a high school sports team, there is an opportunity to represent your high school team, make lifelong friends, better yourself as a player and for some people it’s also an opportunity to get a scholarship to a good college. But what about beyond that? Is there something more? For Hamilton’s varsity volleyball team, they welcomed a freshman to the team this year in AJ Ediger, a new middle hitter for the 2017 Hamilton varsity volleyball team. However, AJ is not a traditional high school student.
AJ doesn’t go to class all day like her teammates including her own sister. AJ takes only online classes so she didn’t know some of the girls on the team at day 1. However, her day consists of somewhat of a similar schedule to the girls on her team.
“It’s pretty normal I guess you could say,” AJ says. “I get up at 7:30… and then I do my online classes and then I get ready for the day like pack all my clothes for my practice and I just go.”
She may not spend her day in a traditional school, however that doesn’t make her any different from the other girls on her team.
Some believe that if you don’t attend that school all day then you shouldn’t be able to play on their sports teams, however AJ’s teammates and coach are glad that she is representing Hamilton.
AJ’s teammates and coach don’t view her any differently either. James Mikolajczyk (first year varsity volleyball coach for Hamilton) says, “No, not really. Once you are on the court we don’t really think about, you know, if you are a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior… But once we play we are all Hawkeyes.” Her teammates just view her as one of them, they say that she is a part of their team and her grade doesn’t affect their opinion of her.
AJ has made an impact on her teammates as well, and her teammates have expressed that. Chloe DeJonge (junior) says, “She is definitely charismatic and brings like an attitude to the team that just makes everything energetic and she makes practices more enjoyable for me.” Chloe smiled as she talked about AJ giving the impression that she truly does make their practices a good time.
“I think it pulls a new perspective for all the underclassmen that are going to come to high school and it’s not impossible to be on the varsity team as a freshman,” Christina Osborn said. She is an inspiration to current Hamilton athletes. Her coach and her teammates say that AJ is a very skilled player and she is successful on the court. DeJonge laughs and says “She definitely gets a lot of kills on the court… we can trust her to get her hands on the ball and be able to work with it!” and Osborn says that AJ is always ready and is there to protect them and they are there to back her up.
AJ is definitely a major part of the team and the team supports her too.
She is an inspiration and Coach Mikolajczyk says “We represent Hamilton and we try to put the best people on the court to represent us… and AJ is clearly one of those players and we wouldn’t move somebody up if we weren’t going to play them, but because she can play a vital role in helping to represent Hamilton we were really excited to move her up.”