SSN: Olivia Aparicio Athlete Feature

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Back Home Again in Indiana 

Student Finds her Niche as Manager of Volleyball Team 

The lights of Wooden Arena beat down as the HSE High School volleyball team come up just short of their first state championship. Through the blood, sweat, and tears of a hard fought second place in the state, the heart of the team still has a strong pulse. The long bus rides, the wins and losses, the practices, all of it united the team and they quickly became more than just a team – they became a family. The bond formed between the team is one that the team believes will never be broken, and at the center of it, their foreign exchange student manager from Spain, junior Olivia Aparicio. 

“[The foreign exchange student program] makes it that we have the best year possible, and it is recommended that we do as much as we can,” Aparicio said. “I decided to be a volleyball manager to get to know people and to be involved in the school… I started going to practices and I got to experience everything the team did.” 

In the later part of the season, the team embraced Aparicio and she became a much-needed surge of energy for a volleyball team who was on a hot streak. Growing in her managerial skills, Aparicio was a valuable member to the team in the postseason. 

“Olivia was awesome this season,” co-manager, junior Allie Greig said. “after getting involved in the second half of the season, the team became a more cohesive unit.” 

Aparicio brought an energy to the team that helped them win sixteen matches in a row and advance further in the tournament than they ever had before. Leading up to the state championship, she fired up the team for the task ahead and it paid dividends for team morale. 

“You try to make the energy the best you can,” Aparicio said. “you form a bond with the team, and you start to care about them in a way that you can’t for other people because you’ve spent more time with them than anyone else.” 

In a school of over 3,000 students, HSE High School can feel overwhelming to a person who is new to the district, much less to a foreign exchange student. Everyone wants to fit in during their time in High School, regardless of where they come from, and numerous examples prove it can be difficult to find where you belong. Through being the manager of the volleyball team and the team embracing her as if she has been with the team for years, Olivia Aparicio has found where she belongs. Story by Tristan Fluhr