For UVI student Jared Hanley, keeping his grades up is as equally important as training for track meets.
SHARI CHRYSS ALFRED|
ST. THOMAS — Rain or shine, if you’re ever near the University of the Virgin Islands, be sure to take a glimpse at the field located near the entrance of the university and you most definitely will find 18-year-old Jared Hanley practicing for his next meet.
While most Virgin Islands’ men his age seem to stray from the idea of going to school past high school, for him attending college was not an option.
Keeping the words of his late father in mind, Hanley has his eyes set on Columbia University after completing his three years at UVI.
“Every day I hear him saying ‘If you can’t keep up your grades why are you doing sports?’ or ‘If you don’t make it what do you have to fall back on,’” said Hanley.
“He’s the reason why I like my grades to be up as much as I like sports, because they help me build momentum and that mindset to study and do well in school.”
Waking up at eight every morning to catch an hour-long safari ride to school for a full day of classes, then practice, can seem like a lot for some; but for Hanley success comes from being able to excel both in and out of the classroom.
A graduate of the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Class of 2013, ranking at number 13 of 221 students in his high school class, Hanley is currently enrolled in the University’s 3-2 mechanical engineering and applied Mathematics program. He is a stellar athlete known for his abilities in football, baseball, track and field, cross country and his many academic achievements.
Most recently, he was honored for having the highest GPA, 3.89, for a student athlete.
Many wonder how he makes time for his academics and sports.
While other athletes struggle to find balance between school and life outside the school, Hanley has it all on schedule. He makes sure to note that procrastination is never an option.
“It’s tiring sometimes but I have a schedule; if you could put in two hours into your practice, why can’t you put in two hours into studying,” he said.
For other athletes however, it wasn’t as easy.
“Sometimes I felt like I had to choose between sports and school and I hated that feeling,” said Andrew Authurton, former soccer player for the Buccaneers. “I applaud those who can excel at both.”
However, Hanley struggled a bit in the track and field season (his area of expertise) after suffering a sprained quad muscle.
“Because of his injury, he didn’t get to train as hard during the track season in order to make the kind of impact we wanted to, therefore he didn’t get to showcase his talents as he wanted to,” said Dale Joseph Track and Field and Cross Country Coach who has coached Hanley since high school.
Despite the injury, Hanley was a great asset to the university’s cross-country team.
“Nevertheless Jared being on the cross-country team was more valuable. He was an intricate part of making it happen because we had to have certain numbers to qualify. He ran the events that counted and when he did run he ran satisfactory time, improving each time,” Joseph continued.
Aside from athletics, Hanley spends the little time he has remaining in his schedule as a Peer-Led Team Learner tutoring Mathematics and as a Peer Educator.
“We know that he’s a good student, but it extends far beyond that. His best attribute is his dedication to get better both athletically and academically and to help others,” said Curtis Gilpin, interim Athletic Director.
His dedication to succeed has allowed him to accomplish many things including being a recipient of the Hovensa scholarship and the Omega Psi Phi scholarship.
“I am inspired by his enthusiasm and by his desire to succeed. You can always count on him to put a smile on your face,” said Sameca Hendrickson upcoming chairperson for the SGA Sports Committee.
Upon completion of his studies, aiming high, his dream career is becoming a Fuel Efficient Manager at BMW, customizing cars to make them more fuel efficient.
For now, he aims to continue to excel and to touch the lives of those that he may come in contact with reminding them that quitting is never an option.
“When you fail, or have an error, especially after injuries just keep bouncing back. Work hard, play hard, work hard, hustle hard,” is the motto of UVI’s outstanding athlete-cum-scholar Jared Hanley.