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AHS tennis player headed to California
ARLINGTON — Arlington High School senior Kelsey Ghirardo first picked up a racket in the third grade and has been competing as a part of a tennis team since the sixth grade. Now, as a member of the Lady Eagles, she is graduating after becoming one of the top six players in District 1 and is headed to college at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego this fall.
“I caught on pretty quick,” said Ghirardo, of learning the game at a young age. “You don’t know a stroke until you’ve done it 10,000 times.”
Ghirardo said she saw the biggest game improvement during her high school years.
“I definitely saw a huge improvement from ninth grade to 12th grade,” she said. “I started on the JV team and I won a lot, so then as a sophomore I played the second singles on varsity. This year I played No. 1 and No. 2 on and off.”
Tennis is the only sport that Ghirardo has played at the high school, but her time off from the game has not been empty.
“I do tennis in the spring and in the fall I am a part of the musical in the drama department,” said Ghirardo.
Ghirardo is also involved with Arlington High School’s competition jazz choir, Jazzmine.
“Normally, we have our big show between the musical and tennis,” she said. “I only do one sport because of the other time constraints.”
Ghirardo is not only a tennis star, but she is also a stellar performer off-the-court. She was valedictorian this year and has received more than $50,000 in music scholarships from her future university in California. As a member of the National Honor Society, Ghirardo is required to complete 30 hours a year of community service, she has easily tripled that number.
“In the past four years I’ve had an average of 100 hours a year,” said Ghirardo. “A bulk of that community service is through my church.” Another portion of her community service is through hosting foreign exchange students.
“We have hosted a bunch of foreign exchange students. We had four Japanese students and one Belgian student, which was a lot of fun,” she said. Ghirardo is also involved as an officer with the International Thespian Society at AHS (formerly the Drama Club), the LINK crew (orientation for freshman) and was a team captain for Relay for Life last year.
Although her schedule is certainly packed with school, sports and extracurricular activities, she said that maintaining a perfect GPA was “definitely do-able.”
“I had a schedule and I always made sure I had the time to learn the curriculum,” she said. “In a way, having all these things going on kept me studious because I knew exactly what I needed to do.”
This fall, Ghirardo is set to enroll at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and double-major in music and athletic training.
“I am very interested in human physiology and plan on implementing that degree into a career rehabilitating injured performing artists,” she said.
“Looking back, I’ve always had something for my body, mind and soul. The combination of those three has helped me be who I am and also be successful at what I do.”
In addition, to her success at school, she is most thankful for the relationships she has built.
“I have great relationships with my teachers they’ve been amazing and really supportive,” said Ghirardo. “The friends I have are the best.”
She also wanted to acknowledge her parents for helping her along the way.
“Of course my family is wonderful. My family has been really supportive,” she said. “Overall this has been one great big blessing.”