Commitment to athletics and academics

The students of WHHS are no strangers to stress, including the student athletes. Athletes not only experience self-pressure to do their best on and off the field, with long late practices and hours of homework.

As a member of the WHHS cross country and track team, DJ Dembele, ‘24, finds a balance between his studies and athletics.

“[With] most sports at Walnut, being a student athlete requires a true commitment to both academics and to improving yourself as an athlete,” Dembele said “it’s really about finding that balance; the best of both worlds.”

Sports are not just used for an exercise at WHHS, but a way for students to express themselves.

“Soccer and sports are a way to express myself, and also give me something to look forward to at the end of the day,” Levi Whitaker, ‘26 said.

However, some athletes’ grades are occasionally affected by the sport they play.

“Sports can either negatively or positively affect your grade. For instance, if you don’t receive good grades, you risk being kicked off the team,” Dembele said. “On the other hand, the consequence of being kicked off the team can help motivate you to stay on top of your grades.”

The Chatterbox administered to student athletes to learn how sports affect the mental health of student athletes, particularly on how they cope with late and early practices. Of the 31 responses, 11 play a varsity level sport, 12 play on a co-ed team, 10 play on a girls team and six play on a boys team.

Marwa Khzir

While 41.9% of student athletes believed their grades aren’t affected by their sport, the same amount believed their grades are affected by their sport.

The majority of students surveyed recommended their sport, even though they believed their sports affected their grades. Many of the students use sports as a way to express themselves and as an escape, like Whitaker, or even as an outlet like Ty’Naesia Harris, ‘25, a member of the WHHS archery team.

“It’s like a release outlet to me. It’s not really about making friends, this sport is about listening to your coach and focusing on yourself and your improvements,” Harris said.