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Lady Knight earns Academic All-Star recognition
Higley High School sophomore Vanessa Venjohn’s promising success in basketball and academics earned her an azcentral.com Academic All-Star of the Week recognition in late February. Now, the Gilbert student continues to prove why she is an example for high school athletes throughout Arizona.
Venjohn boasts a well-rounded student athlete profile. She has a 4.1 GPA. She has played basketball — the sport at the center of her recognition — for four years and softball since she was 4. As an underclassman, she is already on varsity in both sports.
“It’s really cool that people see what I can do,” Venjohn said. “It just makes me feel like I’m a good player and I can go somewhere with it. I’m good at what I do. Academic-wise, it helps me push myself to keep at that level or even get higher.”
Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Brandon Large said he nominated Venjohn because of the self-improvement she always aims for on and off the field.
“What makes Vanessa a great captain is that she goes to practice every day with a positive attitude, ready to get better,” Large said.
Her love and passion for basketball and her team, along with her coach’s influence, motivate her to keep working hard in the court. She said her desire to become a college athlete motivates her to keep her grades up and pushes her desire to improve in softball
Venjohn sees a future for her quickly progressing skills in college basketball.
“I feel like I have a sport behind me to get me where I want to go with it,” Venjohn said.
Even as she puts her focus on an athletic college career, Venjohn said she plans to maintain a strong GPA during her final two years of high school.
“All the hard work pays off,” Venjohn said. “When you’re playing, obviously it’s fun; but colleges also look at academics. You don’t want to focus on one thing. You want to do both and balance both. Work hard and do it because it will get you somewhere.”