Putting the student in student athlete


Susana Trujillo is warming up doing finger touches with her teammate.

Three middle school students shine both in academically and athletically, despite having a busy schedule. Becoming role models and proving to everyone that keeping up with your passions and responsibilities is the road towards success. 

Rebeca, Valentina, and Susana are very talented volleyball players for the TCS MS team. They represent the school in many competitions and events. During their own time, they train and play for an outside volleyball club called Thunder. They have been doing this for the past 2 years now, and yet, they have managed to maintain the highest grades in MS.

When you are in school, but also an excelling athlete, trying to maintain good grades can become overwhelming. You might think that there are lots of problems when it comes to managing time for studying, but this is not the case with Susana Trujillo, Valentina Gutiérrez, and Rebeca Guerra. These three students are examples of how one can maintain a very high GPA while still training every day. 

“I really like volleyball because it gives me a lot of discipline. I enjoy being with my teammates and all that stuff. So I have practice every day of the week. I train for three days in my club and two with the school’s team. Sometimes on the weekends, I have matches or tournaments,” Gutiérrez, said.

Playing sports requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline. Young athlete Gutiérrez started playing volleyball when she was 11 years old in the school’s team, where she soon discovered her love for this sport. In order to take her volleyball skills to the next level, Gutiérrez joined the Thunder Volleyball team outside of school. This decision meant that she had to commit to regular practices and matches, which often took place outside of school hours, and even during school days. This was very demanding for her as a young girl, who also had to deal with schoolwork, exams, and other extracurricular activities. 

A similar case is Rebecca Guerra, Grade 7, who is also an active member of the Thunder Volleyball team. Both Gutierrez and Guerra share practices and matches inside and outside of school. Guerra has been on the team for almost two and a half years, and ever since, her life has become a challenging schedule, because just after training she is required to go to Kumon to study math and stay up late hours finishing school work. 

Susana Trujillo has played volleyball for 4 years now, she currently plays for the school and played in Thunder 3 years ago. Trujillo is very organized and completes all her homework to maintain good grades. The school doesn’t give her a lot of extensions for her assignments, so she goes to bed late, studying until 10 pm. Sometimes she feels very tired and a little overwhelmed and feels like she can’t keep up with a regular day schedule.

“I feel like my organization has been really helpful because I always know where I’m going next. When I need to study, I always like keeping a list of the things that I have to do every day. I always remember like the homework that I have to do or the things I need to study so then when I go home, I can do it like more fluidly,”  Gutierrez said.

Student-athletes are exemplary models for their peers and the TCS community because they not only shine academically but also in sports. While this is an admirable achievement, being a student-athlete can present a number of unique challenges. One of the biggest struggles for student-athletes is time management and dealing with physical fatigue, sometimes they don’t know how to balance school and sports causing them to burn out. They need to balance their studies, practices, games, and their social life. This can lead to a tight schedule, leaving little time for personal activities, socializing, or relaxation. Student-athletes must be highly organized and efficient in managing their time. 

The second struggle is the pressure to maintain good academic grades while performing sports. They are required to attend classes regularly, submit assignments, and take tests, all while training and competing. Falling behind academically can lead to their ineligibility to play, putting additional pressure on them to get good grades.

“Even though I manage my schedule, there is a lot of pressure to have everything on time and get good grades, all while maintaining a good performance in volleyball,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo shared a few tips for young athletes starting out in school with the hopes of helping them manage their time wisely and become successful in both their passions and responsibilities.  

  1. You must have a very clear schedule for school tasks, this way you can separate time to complete them between activities. 
  2. Write down and cross out what you have already finis from your checklist, and highlight what is still pending.
  3. Maintain good communication with the teachers, especially when there are championships outside the school that occur during school days.
  4. Be committed to your team and to the practice schedules, so when you join you should know that the school is as important as the sport and you must comply with both.
  5. Take responsibility for the privilege and support that the school gives us to get caught up. Never take advantage of it.

“The school always gives a lot of support during the time of the tournaments, but not so much when doing homework after training. The trick to being successful is learning how to manage your time wisely, set your priorities straight, and most importantly be passionate about both your dreams and responsibilities,” Trujillo said.