Some seniors wait anxiously until March to hear where their future will take them — Alexis Garcia, however, is already sitting pretty on a scholarship to SUNY Plattsburgh, where she will play soccer.
“I thought I was going to be less stressed,” she laughs. It might come as a surprise to some that Garcia was able to score such a sweet deal, given that she tore her ACL twice (once in each leg) during both junior and senior year. The setback didn’t stop Garcia, though — “If you are down, you’re not going to be able to grow from your injury” — and luckily for her, she impressed a coach at her summer soccer camp at Plattsburgh sophomore year. This year, she received a call during practice with a request to come play at the school. Garcia did an overnight soon afterwards, and felt so at home that by the next afternoon, she had verbally committed.
Garcia has been a soccer player since elementary school, and she is ecstatic to be able to continue in her college career. “Play as many sports as you can in high school, because you’re going to miss it,” she advises. “If I wasn’t able to [play in college], I’d be devastated.”
On the career front, Garcia has also gotten a jump. This year, she spends half her school days studying at the New Visions Education program. “What if you find out you don’t want to be a teacher in your junior year?” She says, referencing some of the backwards student teaching opportunities available at many colleges. This pitfall is not the case with New Visions — she has been able to get hands on experience before graduating high school, and has loved interning at the Montessori School in Kingston. “They’re not mean yet,” she says of the fourth grade class she’s been assisting.
When she was in their shoes, Garcia remembers having the same easygoing attitude. “For some reason, when you’re younger, you just love going to school,” she says. Many of her teachers and student teachers in the classroom made those early, formative years such a great experience for her. “I want to be that for someone.”
At Plattsburgh, Garcia will be able to enroll in a five-year teaching program and come out with her Masters. From there, she hopes to be an elementary school teacher — second grade is the age of choice.
“The hardest part of high school is balancing everything,” Garcia says. “You almost don’t want to take a test because… ‘what if I do badly?’” Beyond these pressures, though, she still manages to have fun.
“I do typical teenage things,” she grins, citing the Friday night football games as some of her favorite memories from these past few years. Cheering in the stands with the entire school is definitely a bonding experience. “Everyone loves a good football game,” she says with a smile.
Needless to say, Garcia’s friends, and the connections she’s made in a small school environment, have helped her grow and made her time at the high school memorable. “It’s nice to be able to have so many friends with so many varieties of views and opinions.”
Ultimately, Garcia is excited to walk at graduation and finally accept her diploma, knowing that she tried her hardest. “I just want to be able to end the year surrounded by people who care about me, and who I care about,” she explains.
At the rate she’s going, it surely won’t be too long before Garcia returns to the classroom– but this time, she’ll be the one teaching.