Each week, the #SpanningtheNeed podcast will present an “Inspirational Student Athlete of the Week and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others and/or student-athletes who display distinction, dedication, and perseverance in the classroom. This week’s featured is a student athlete player and is Ava Valko from Boardman Spartans. Nominate someone now.
Name: Ava Valko
School: Boardman High School
Sport/Position: Girls Varsity Tennis (first singles)
What are your plans after graduation?
My plans after graduation are to attend college and then eventually go to medical school.
What is your favorite class?
My favorite class is science/ biology.
What do you enjoy most about playing this sport?
The thing that I most enjoy about tennis is that each point is a chance to start over. If you have a bad point, you are able to just reset yourself and start again.
What type of volunteer work are you involved in within your community?
There are many clubs in school that I am involved in that provide us with volunteer activities; however, due to COVID, many personal volunteer activities that I was once involved in are suspended. I used to work with kids through a United Way afterschool program and taught them tennis, as well as leadership and teamwork skills.
Why is the most memorable moment in your scholastic career?
The most memorable moment in my scholastic career would have to be the dissections in my anatomy and physiology class.
What is your favorite sports related movie?
I don’t have a favorite sports related movie, however, I really enjoyed the series that Netflix created with Naomi Osaka.
Who has the best nickname on the team and what is it?
The best nickname on the team definitely belongs to one of my best friends Mia Hammerton- her nickname is “shakes”.
Who is your role model?
In daily life, my role model is definitely my mother. Looking at this question through an athletic lens, my role model is my private coach Pam Steinhauser.
What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is either any type of pasta or hibachi.
What song best describes you or is the soundtrack to your life?
Either Ever Since New York or Only Angel by Harry Styles. Any song by Harry would be in the soundtrack of my life. He is one of my absolute favorite artists.
Are you looking to continue you’re playing career in college?
After much consideration and debate, I have decided not to continue my playing career in college. I’m sure if I change my mind, there are other leagues I can join in order to get back on the court.
Do you have a field of study already chosen when you go to college? Why that field?
Yes, in college I am planning on following a pre-med track. I chose this field because I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since I was little. My mother has also inspired me with her career as a pathologist. Although I’m not sure of a specialty, I’m sure I would love anything in that field.
What team do you most enthusiastically root for? (any sport)
Honestly, I don’t keep up with too many sports teams, but Rafael Nadal is a huge inspiration for my tennis game. I admire his hardwork and effort.
A favorite quote by which you live.
“We are so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take the time to enjoy where we are”.