Very focused and hard working.
Those are words Van Horn High School math teacher Marcia Crowley used to describe Amaya Garibay.
Garibay personified those words the last four years, proving herself as a top student and athlete.
Before she could focus on her endeavors on the court or field, Garibay knew she had to stay academically eligible.
Because of that, her grades sat at the top of her list of important aspects.
Things would get difficult for Garibay in high school, but she knew her hard work would pay off down the line.
“It was hard because it took time away from my friends and family, but I was able to manage it,” Garibay said.
A combination of early morning and late night homework sessions helped Garibay finish at the top of the Van Horn High School Class of 2021.
She’ll add the recognition to her athletic accolades, which include two district MVPs and a first team All-State selection in volleyball.
Garibay will study nursing at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, ending her time at Van Horn an associate’s degree in general studies from Odessa College.
Garibay cited her mother as the driving force behind her interest in nursing.
She said her mother wanted to pursue nursing as a career when she was younger.
“Just her talking about nursing and how amazing it is as a career is what drove me to go into the field,” Garibay said.
Before she moves to the Alamo City for college, she’ll go in with some preparation having already spoken with professors to discuss class assignments.
She said she always tried to turn in her class work before the scheduled due date, jumping ahead to keep a grip on her athletic duties.
Even with the preparation, Garibay will have to adjust to moving.
She originally planned on going to the University of Texas at Austin, but changed her mind when she received a scholarship from the University of the Incarnate Word.
“It’s scary, but I do have a lot of family in San Antonio,” Garibay said. “I do know the area pretty well, so I’m more relaxed going to San Antonio than going to Austin.”
Although Garibay hasn’t received a lot of offers to play collegiately, she hasn’t closed the door on walking on to the volleyball team at the next level.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic has made athletics a little tougher, but she would love to put on a jersey again.
At Van Horn, Garibay’s favorite subject was math.
She enjoyed the challenge that came with the subject and some of its most difficult questions.
As Garibay’s math teacher, Crowley thought her star student could have majored in something involving computers in college.
Despite that, she believes Garibay will successful in a nursing program.
“If that’s where she feels called, she’ll do great there,” Crowley said.
With her final high school athletic season behind her, Garibay thinks her positive attitude and leadership are qualities that define her legacy.
She always looked to make her teammates better every time she took the court or field with them.
Crowley said Garibay achieving high standards as a student-athlete set a precedent for others in the future.
The math teacher sees Garibay excelling in any path she chooses to follow.
“She’s showing them that it’s possible to be a very good, outstanding athlete and a very good, outstanding student,” Crowley said.
“You can balance those things and be the best at both parts of school.”
>> Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya
>> Academic Rank: 1 of 25
>> Sports: Volleyball; Basketball; Softball; Tennis; Track
>> Academic bio: I was taught at a young age that academics come before athletics, so because of this I spend most of my time working on my grades and making sure that I was passing every class, so that I was eligible to play the sports that I love, along with getting into a good college in the future. I will be graduating Odessa College with most of my prerequisites done for nursing and an Associates’ Degree in General Studies with honors, Magna Cum Laude
>> Athletic bio: Volleyball (2019, 2020 District MVP; First Team All-State)
>> Activities: Volleyball; Softball; Reading; Painting
>> College and major: University of the Incarnate Word (Nursing)
>> Goals for the future: To get a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, specializing in aesthetic or surgical nursing. If needed, go back to school to receive a Master’s in Nursing
>> Favorite subject: Math
>> Favorite book: We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet