Early Decision—Really Early

At this point in the year, most seniors are anxiety-ridden, awaiting those letters back from colleges letting them know where they will, or will not, be spending the next four years of their lives. VHS sophomore Julia Ashley does not plan to have any such stress in her senior year because she has already done something most seniors have yet to do–commit to a college.

Mid-second marking period, Julia got the news that she had always wanted to hear, she was going to be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I have always dreamed of going there; it was the greatest feeling ever when I heard the news from my coach,” Julia said. She plays with a competitive soccer club team that travels all around to colleges for tournaments that are loaded with college scouts looking for up and coming athletes.

Scouts, by rule, cannot have contact with athletes until the end of their junior year, so Julia’s coach became the middle man between her and the scouts. This eventually led to the incredible news that UNC was offering Julia a full soccer scholarship.

“I was so excited and this really gave me hope since I plan to play soccer for a career when I graduate,” she said.

Not only is Julia an outstanding soccer player but she excels in track, breaking more school records in her short year and a half here than some people have in their whole high school career. Unfortunately, Julia does not participate on VHS’s girls soccer team.

“I couldn’t afford the injuries I risked while playing for [VHS’s] team,” said Julia. Her competitive soccer season overlaps the typical high school soccer season and the important tournaments were at the tail end when Julia knew she would be physically worn down and at greater risk of injury.

“I use the fall season to do strength training and to condition myself to get ready for the intense season ahead of me,” she said.

While many might see this as a “free senioritis pass” for the next two and a half years, Julia knows that’s not the case. “It’s almost more and less pressure at the same time; I have to maintain my grades in order to ensure I keep my scholarship. But it is nice to know I have a place to go to after I graduate.”