The Harbinger Online

Inside an Athlete’s Week

Photos by Audrey Kesler 


Julia Stopperan

Senior Julia Stopperan’s calendar looks like a rainbow threw up on it. Green for tests, dark blue for family events, black for school, appointments are pink, light blue represents volunteering, and coral is work. The color coding of her planner and calendar helps keep her hectic schedule organized.  

Three AP classes. Golf practice. Dinner. Battle through homework. Shower – her signal that she’s done for the night. Sleep.

Wake up. Repeat.

One thing that aids Stopperan in balancing golf, schoolwork, DECA and StuCo is seminar and class time. Because golf tournaments take up a large portion of the day, Stopperan often misses her last three classes. Free seminars are a thing of the past. Make-up tests plague Stopperan. However, she utilizes class time and seminar to their full extent.

“I’m that kid where everybody is standing up at the front of the classroom with three minutes left and I’m still working,” Stopperan said. “I still got three minutes, that’s two more problems.”

Mimi Stopperan, Stopperan’s mother, describes her daughter as proactive. Stopperan is not new to the art of getting everything done. Three and a half years of varsity golf has helped her figure out what works and what doesn’t work when trying to harmonize school and sports. Taking advantage of teacher’s calendars to work ahead, as well as communicating with teachers before she misses their class have proven to work for her. Stopperan also realizes the bustling schedule she adopts during golf season is temporary.

“You got to work through it. [Golf season is] two months long and then it’s over,” Stopperan said. 



Cooper McCullough

Senior Cooper McCullough feels focused dressed in a suit and tie. Even though it’s game day, McCullough recognizes that there’s school work to complete and once that’s finished he can direct his thoughts to his soccer game against Olathe East that night.

McCullough juggles soccer, academics, his thrifting company, cbm thrift,  FCA and LARP club. He says stress is avoidable if he accomplishes an assignment as soon as it’s assigned. Disciplining himself during class when everyone else is using their computers for anything but homework is key.  

“Being a senior looking back on your freshman year, it’s not like, ‘Oh I had fun for that two hours watching Netflix.’ You’re going to remember the bad grade you had,” McCullough said.       

McCullough doesn’t start his homework until 10:00 p.m. on game nights and refuses to use a planner so his mom, Robin McCullough reminds him frequently.      

“I think sometimes there needs to be gentle reminders. Hey, I see that you went thrift shopping but have you gotten that project done?” Robin said. “A lot of times the answer will be, Mom trust me,and I like that answer because I, as a mother, do need to trust him.”

Although varsity soccer games usually take place at 7:00 p.m., practices are right after school. So are make-up tests. McCullough knows it’s schoolwork first and then soccer. According to McCullough, Kelly is understanding when it comes to academics and soccer.

Another aspect McCullough considers when trying to keep himself disciplined is his future. Homework and grades to him are a primary influence on the future. It’s taken time to find the right balance.

“It takes some time to figure out your schedule and how you’re going to cope with it. But once you get that figured out and you’re actually disciplined then it’s not that bad,” McCullough said.  

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Zach Yeo

Along with his AP Stats and AP Psych homework, senior Zach Yeo’s homework is to study film of the opposing football team he’ll be facing come Thursday or Friday night.  

However, finding a balance between school and football hasn’t taken it’s toll on Yeo. He’s not up until 3 a.m. finishing school work. He claims one of his strengths in stabilizing academics is his ability to remain calm and not let a forgotten assignment bother him.

“If I miss one thing, I’ll make up for it next time,” Yeo said.  

Accomplishing a load of homework during class time is Yeo’s main concern. He wants to be able to relax after a tiring day of school. Three-hour-long football practices dominate his evenings. So he plugs in his headphones and gets to work during class. He credits his mother  as a big help in solving his time conundrum: she washes his football gear for him with aiding his time conundrum because she washes all of his football gear.

Yeo thinks that between football in the fall, lacrosse in the spring, and his involvement in the National Honor Society, he stays busy enough.

“I think for the most part I balance it pretty well. I have pretty good grades. I’m enjoying football and I’m happy. I think that’s good balance,” Yeo said.

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Jackie Cameron

Jackie Cameron is a sophomore at Shawnee Mission East and is a page designer and writer for the Harbinger. Jackie keeps herself busy with tennis, soccer and episodes of The Office. This will be her first year on staff and she's excited for what's to come. Read Full »

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