From college athletes to FHC teachers?

From college athletes to FHC teachers?

Within the walls of FHC, there are two stories with hallways filled with classrooms belonging to many different teachers. That’s a well-known fact. However, a little-known fact is that a number of them were athletes while they attended their respective colleges. Studies show that only one in thirteen high school students go on to play varsity sports in college. These men and women we know as teachers were part of that seven percent.

Lauren Heinz, an algebra and pre-calculus teacher at FHC, attended Grand Valley State University to continue to compete on the volleyball court. She actually attended with coach Carhart and coach Sultini during her years in Allendale. She played all four of her years ranging from 2002-2005. During her freshman and sophomore seasons, she and her team made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament, which then led to them becoming the only team in GVSU history to win the Division 2 National Championship her senior year. “The most important outcome of my collegiate career was learning many crucial things about life, whether it was learning how to live with a budget, how to keep up with time management, and realizing what I could have done differently while I was there, which helps me use better judgement in my present life.” She also told me her favorite part was creating the life-long friendships that still affect her life to this day. After all the hard work she put in on the court and in the weight room, realizing that skipping even one day is something you just cannot do, winning the National Championship made everything worth it.

Beloved English teacher and head freshman and JV football coach Anthony Sultini used to lace up his running shoes for the track team at GVSU as well. “During my first season, we started to become a dominant and prolific force in the GLIAC Conference and on a national level. For me personally, winning the GLIAC men’s indoor and outdoor championships pretty much on a consistent basis was a great accomplishment, especially now seeing how the program is top ten nationally each year and knowing that we helped get the program to where it is today.” One of his most cherished memories, Coach Sultini was voted team captain his senior year by demonstrating leadership and having good work ethic. His efforts were easily seen by his teammates which allowed him to gain their respect and votes to be named team captain. A common appreciation from college athletes is the friendships they make that continue throughout their entire lives, and coach Sultini fits that focus as he is still in close contact with many of his college teammates. “I had been running track since elementary school and it became a fixture in my life on up through college. My favorite memory was getting the nod to lead off our 1600 meter relay team in my very last race of my career at the GLIAC outdoor championship. I was nowhere near the times of my teammates, but because of the bond that we had built, they wanted me on that team with them. It meant a lot that they trusted me that much.” Sultini had worked harder than ever throughout his college years which in turn helped him achieve his goals and continue his athletic career at the next stage.

Coach Kyle Carhart runs the basketball court here at FHC just like he did when he played for GVSU. When coach Carhart went to GVSU, he had no idea what he wanted to major in. All he knew was he wanted to play some ball. He was on the team for five years, getting red-shirted his sophomore year. Just like coach Sultini and Mrs. Heinz, coach Carhart made life-long friends at Grand Valley State and is still in touch with them to this day. He and his teammates made the NCAA tournament for the first time in GVSU history, although they didn’t quite win it. However, they won their conference multiple times and even the region once, taking home some hardware. “To be able to play you have to declare a major. At the time I was undecided which meant that I needed to choose one. One of my coaches had recommended that I go study education, and so I did. I’m very glad I made that decision and stuck with it because now I get to spend my days with awesome young adults who I get to directly help achieve their goals like I did mine.”

There are more teachers around our school that were college athletes, so seek them out and have some good conversations about a chapter of their lives.