Idaho volleyball star serves up passion for sports and school
How much can one teen achieve?
Brooke Swanson of Deary, Idaho, has spent her school years finding out. The recent high school graduate is an accomplished athlete, and her high school athletics resume reads like an MVP for every sport she competed in: team captain for volleyball and basketball, state appearances for volleyball, basketball, and track. She’s been awarded Most Valuable Player, Most Inspirational Player, Whitepine League Player of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, and Academic Athlete of the Year.
You get the idea.
Brooke’s love of sports—volleyball, especially—began at a young age, literally. Her mom was a high school volleyball coach and began bringing Brooke to practices right after she was born.
“I would scoot around the court,” Brooke said. “All the older girls loved me.”
By the time she was in elementary school, Brooke was team manager for her mom’s junior high team, and she began to play club volleyball in third grade. She was 9 at the time, playing with girls 12 and older.
Brooke’s dedication to volleyball has never wavered; it’s her main focus, and she sacrifices her free time for it. After normal high school sports practices, which end at 5:30, Brooke made the 45-minute drive to Pullman to practice for her league volleyball team from 7-9 pm.
“I have a passion for volleyball,” she said. “I love all sports, really, but volleyball’s the one. I just love it.”
Brooke’s heavy sports schedule meant she often had to wake up an hour or two early before school to study and finish homework. She was just as competitive about her studies as she was about sports.
“I have a friend who’s super smart,” she said. “In elementary school, she told me, ‘If I wasn’t in your class, you’d be the valedictorian.’ That got to me—and I thought, ‘Oh, no way’.” That friendly rivalry pushed Brooke to earn top grades.
Brooke graduated with a 4.07 GPA last Saturday, and shared the valedictorian spot with her elementary school friend.
Brooke’s desire to succeed in sports kept her from engaging in underage drinking. In fact, in her sophomore year, Brooke joined Idaho Drug-Free Youth (IDFY) and the Latah County Youth Advisory Council (LCYAC)—organizations that offer students worthwhile alternatives to drugs and alcohol and otherwise work to prevent underage substance abuse in their communities.
“Honestly, I wasn’t around much drinking until this past year,” Brooke said. “When I was out with friends who were drinking, I was the designated driver and I helped keep people safe.”
In her senior year, Brooke was selected to be on the Youth Advisory Board for IDFY, which provided her the opportunity to help kids who struggle with alcoholic families, depression, and substance abuse. She also earned two awards from LCYAC—the Lynn Cameron Award, given to a member who provides positive youth development opportunities to help reduce substance use, and the Spirit of the LCYAC Ambassador Award, for the student who shows ongoing commitment and passion to the program.
Brooke’s outstanding efforts in so many areas of her life—sports, academics, and commitment to remain alcohol-free while underage—have earned her a spot on the Columbia Basin College volleyball team this fall. And with a decent scholarship, to boot.
BeTheParents.org’s Idaho Youth Spotlights focus on Idaho kids who are pursuing their passions instead of engaging in underage drinking. If you know a child like this, please let us know! We’d love to share their story.Tags: #findtheirpassion, alcohol-free, Idaho, Idaho Youth Spotlight, sports, teen, teen passion