Class Act: Haley Ryckman

Haley Ryckman’s schedule consists of academics, volleyball and volunteer work — a trifecta of responsibilities that would rival the busiest working mom’s calendar, but this 14-year-old Blue Valley Southwest student wouldn’t have it any other way.

After finishing a winning season playing middle hitter for the Timberwolves’ freshmen volleyball team, Ryckman will have only a moment to catch her breath before she begins practicing with her club volleyball team, the South KC Juniors.

“Volleyball is definitely a team sport,” says Ryckman. “You’re constantly interacting with your teammates, and I like that dynamic.”

Haley Ryckman takes pride in working hard,
helping others and setting a good example.

This year, Ryckman is taking two freshmen honors classes, English and Biology; in addition to Spanish 2.5, the highest level of Spanish freshmen students are allowed to take.

When Ryckman has spare time, she likes to spend it volunteering. She’s a nine-year veteran of the Girl Scouts, earning her silver status and doing volunteer projects for organizations such as Hope House, TLC and Wayside Waifs.

“Growing up in Johnson County, I know how lucky I am,” says Ryckman. “I want to give back to my community.”

This past summer, Ryckman packed her bags for a mission trip to Colorado that she describes as an “eye-opening experience.”

Organized by her church, the trip brought members of her youth group to a low-income neighborhood outside of Denver. Their goal was to clean up a church, which also served as a school for underprivileged kids. Ryckman spent the week cleaning, tiling floors and painting.

“We had a chance to walk around the neighborhood we were serving and talk to people,” says Ryckman. “It was astonishing to see what little these families had.”

The trip only reassured Ryckman that all her hard work in school, sports and volunteering will lead the way to a successful future.

“I feel like I owe it to myself and as a role model to my younger brothers, to continue to work hard and be grateful for what I have,” says Ryckman. “If I have extra time, then I would rather help someone instead of do nothing.”

 

IN HER OWN WORDS:

Model Maker: “I look up to my mom a lot; she was an elementary school teacher and volleyball player like me.”
Animal Lover: “I have an 18-month-old goldendoodle named Duncan, so my favorite place to volunteer is Wayside Waifs.”
Future Dreams: “I want to attend a Nazarene university and be a teacher like my mom.”

photos: Brooke Vandever

Categories: People, People & Places

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