Being a dependable student-athlete during high school has plenty more of its fair share of advantages as said student-athlete beings pursuing his or her college or professional career.
If one doesn’t believe that message, just ask Isaac Erks. He’s already seeing the dividends of his hard work from his high school days.
The 2017 New Boston High School graduate, who won the $500 Southeast Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrator Scholarship last spring, has parlayed his hard work into an opportunity to advance his education at Shawnee State University.
And clearly, it’s an opportunity that Erks is blessed to have.
“It felt like a big accomplishment,” Erks said. “I felt very blessed when I received the scholarship, and that blessing hasn’t left as my opportunity to further my education at Shawnee State University has started to take its course.”
Erks, who played as many as four sports (baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis) at New Boston during his high school career, certainly never lacked in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom, as the multi-sport transformed himself into a regular contributor in all four sports by becoming a First-Team All-SOC talent and a Second-Team All-Southeast District honoree for his work on the defensive end under Greg Mauk’s wing, then contributed consistently as a role player for the Tigers on the basketball court.
When Erks — who began playing baseball to start his high school career — lost his opportunity to play baseball for the final two seasons of his career when New Boston cancelled the remainder of its 2016 season midway through and did the same for all of 2017 due to a lack of numbers, the pleasant, but mentally tough leader followed New Boston baseball coach and athletic director Jimmy Bailey to the tennis courts as Erks traded in his cleats and a bat for sneakers and a racket. Erks’ efforts in that area, along with the play of R.J. Hayes and Jaycee Carter, among others, have provided a strong formation that the Tigers can grow upon going forward. And despite consistently playing at least three sports at once throughout his high school career, Erks still maintained an average that exceeded a cumulative average of 3.0 throughout his high school career.
“(Being a student-athlete) at New Boston was a great experience,” Erks said. “The teachers and coaches all care deeply about every student and their success not only during their time in high school, but after it is over as well. I learned many life lessons there. More kids should give New Boston a try as far as their school and sports experiences are concerned.”
However, even though Erks stayed true to the student-athlete mantra in every facet, the SOIAA Scholarship still came as a shock to one of Glenwood’s newest graduates.
“I was very surprised and did not expect to receive (the scholarship),” Erks said. “When I did, I was very excited and grateful because I knew that it would help me greatly throughout the year as I began paying for books and tuition.”
Since his graduation from New Boston, Erks has started to write another chapter on his own life by continuing to show the same dedication and focus that was evident during his days as a student-athlete at Glenwood. While Erks is currently taking care of his general education courses as an undecided major, the New Boston native plans to go into either nursing or occupational therapy and will declare for one or the other before his sophomore year commences.
Regardless of the path that Erks chooses to go down, however, the 2017 GHS graduate knows that his student-athlete experiences at New Boston have helped and will only help him as he continues to go forward in his college education — because of the mentality that was instilled in him by the coaches and teachers that he encountered in the New Boston Local system.
“All my coaches taught me to never give up when times are tough, and to always give it my all and persevere through the barriers that may stand between accomplishing the goals that I have set for myself,” Erks said. “My teachers always pushed me to strive for greatness in the classroom and educate myself to the highest level possible. They taught me to try my best, take priority in what I am doing, and not settle for poor effort. In both areas, the coaches and teachers at New Boston influenced me to do my best both in college and in other aspects of my life.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT