During the 2020-21 school year, many athletic, social and educational opportunities associated with a normal school were placed on ‘hiatus’ and that uncertainty was difficult for many students. That group also included student-athletes as they prepared to train without knowing if their respective sports would actually occur. For one CCHS student, that preparation came with some additional advocacy to keep her program available for the 2020-21 season.
CCHS senior Gabrielle Lupe continued to advocate for girls swimming to stay on track for the 2020-21 season. She worked with district officials to ensure that the South Colonie swim program would move forward as scheduled, while allowing her and her teammates to make the best of a year compromised by COVID-19. By combining efforts with the Schenectady City School District, the swim team was allowed to compete at their swim facilities and provide some closure for CCHS swim team student-athletes.
In the fall, Ms. Lupe will be attending The College of Saint Rose with her focus centering on elementary education. She will also be competing in swimming as a Golden Knight. The College of Saint Rose competes at a Division II level. To learn more about their program visit here: https://gogoldenknights.com/sports/womens-swimming-and-diving
Today, we share Ms. Lupe’s Q&A to share her experiences during the year and how she set her pathway toward the future.
As a student-athlete, how did you approach a year defined by a pandemic?
It was hard to do for sure. It involved a lot of self motivation and perseverance. I used both teammates and coaches within and out of the district to find workouts and small things to do, to get in shape for a season that was yet to be determined. The final reward was always in my mind. It was a lot of uncertainty, which made it very difficult, however with help from those around me and myself, I was able to succeed.
How did your training shift during this time?
Training during the pandemic was something I’ll always remember. Before I was in season, we would participate in Google Meet workouts, outside or in the basements of our homes to stay in shape. It was a surreal experience, but one that I will cherish forever. I was able to develop new workouts and techniques that I could do from home, and I still use on a daily basis. It was something unique, yet useful. Once training started, we had to socially distance ourselves within the water, and out of the water. However, it didn’t affect us, and we still made the most of the few weeks we had.
As a senior, do you have advice for future students as they chase their athletic pursuits?
I would say to take each day one step at a time. No meet, game or match is the end-all be-all. One of the most corny sayings ever, that I keep in the back of my mind is “everything happens for a reason.” As athletes, we have to fall and fail every once in a while. If we don’t, we become complacent and never rise to the occasion. Keep pushing, stay motivated and don’t forget to have some fun with it too.
What was a silver lining for you during the school year?
Honestly, a silver lining for me this school year was the idea of going into school once every three days. Of course, it isn’t what it normally is, but I am able to see some friends, teachers and have some social interaction with people which we have lacked. I was able to see people at practice and at school events. As the year has progressed, I am able to see more people at more events and now I am able to go to prom, a picnic and a graduation with my entire class. I am extremely grateful for what this year has taught me and turned out to be.
Finally, where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years from now, I see myself teaching, specifically elementary students. My hope is to teach in the Colonie school district. I was able to learn and grasp onto so many life lessons and ideals from my teachers. I want to pass on this message and inspire others to do the same. I have four more years of swimming, but that does not mean swimming is over for me. I want to coach in the near future. I have been inspired by coaches to reach for the stars and to persevere and I do not know if I would be the person I am today without them, so I want to carry along their message too.