Ede Walker, a senior at Ossining High School, has spent her entire high school career involved in sports – varsity volleyball and basketball to be exact. But then the pandemic hit, and it would be nearly a year until she reunited with her teammates to any normal degree. While Ossining is offering a hybrid between virtual and in-person classes, Ede has been entirely virtual. She said that it has been challenging at times, but being able to see her teammates last February, when sports resumed, was “surreal.” Previously she had been playing with them nearly year-round, and being able to continue her role as an athlete has been a welcomed reprieve from months of homebound isolation. Aside from the relationship with her teammates, Ede enjoys the physicality of her sport. In basketball, she thrives off “the energy on the court. There is never a dull moment. There is always something you can be doing, pushing yourself harder,” Ede said.
The notion of pushing herself harder has in part come from the motivation of her father. From a young age, he has inspired her to be active, and from him, she has learned to see exercise as an enjoyable activity rather than a taxing one. He has also supported her academically, encouraging her to foster relationships with her teachers so that when she did struggle, she felt comfortable asking for help. Academically, Ede is drawn to math and plans to study Exercise Science and Kinesiology, with the idea of pursuing a career in physical therapy.
In addition to her rigorous course load, Ede also manages to give back to the community. She has volunteered at several camps, and believes that connecting with the younger athletes and students is particularly important. She has also been an active volunteer through opportunities offered by the National Honor Society. Managing her time between athletics, academics, and community involvement can be overwhelming, but Ede’s approach is to incorporate them all together, “whether it be volunteering at different events with my sports teams or using the time I do have in between games and practices to keep up with my school work.”
Of all the memories Ede will take with her when she leaves Ossining for college next year, winning the state championship with her basketball team in 2019 ranks paramount. Though it was her sophomore year, and she didn’t play as often as she does now, “It made me realize the role that someone can play, not on the court, but off the court,” she said. “Being a productive team member doesn’t always have to come in the form of minutes played.” It taught her the value of pushing herself during practice, where her hard work between games enabled her to have the chances she did in the seasons to come.
Q&A with Ede Walker
How do you balance community involvement, as well as academic achievement, with the commitment of athletics?
I try to balance the three by bringing them all together. Whether it be volunteering at different events with my sports teams or using the time I do have in between games and practices to keep up with my school work.
What motivates you most on the field, court, etc.?
My teammates are a big motivation for me on the court. We feed off of each other’s energy and it always makes me want to play the best I can and it makes the game so much more enjoyable.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment (could be academic, athletic, community-related)?
I would consider my best accomplishment to be how I managed to stay on high honor throughout all of my years of high school. I think this is my best accomplishment because it shows how I learned to balance my athletic, academic, and social life.
What is the most rewarding part of achieving feats for your team?
The most rewarding part of achieving feats for my team is the feeling after winning, knowing that all the hard you that we have been putting in paid off and that we are improving and getting better everyday.
Is there someone who has inspired you, or helped you meet your achievements?
Someone who has inspired me to meet my achievements is definitely my father. He got me into playing basketball and has pushed me both physically and academically for as long as I can remember.
How do you involve yourself in the community?
I involve myself in the community by trying to reach out to those younger than me any chance I get. I have volunteered at camps, been a peer tutor, and a peer mentor. I think that relationships with younger generations are very important.
What aspects of your sport do you find most compelling?
I find the impact of team chemistry and the overall effect of teamwork to be very compelling. If you don’t have good team chemistry you aren’t going to play good, so watching us form relationships with each other off the court and then that causing improvements on the court is great to see.
If you could describe your experience as a student-athlete in three words, what would they be?
Demanding. Rewarding. Unforgettable.