When Annapolis Area Christian School senior Sydney White wants a break from her demanding academic and athletic schedule, she reaches for a paintbrush.
White, who carries a 4.0-grade point average and will be attending Lehigh University on a field hockey scholarship next year, has been painting since elementary school. Landscapes and animals rank as her favorite subjects.
"I have always had a knack for art," White explains. "I started to pursue it in middle school, where I got to choose my classes. It just progressed through high school, and it was something I just tried and ended up loving.
"It's such a calming activity," she adds. "I just get my canvas and go outside and paint."
Despite being consumed by her painting and field hockey, White still finds time to pursue a surprising number of other activities. She serves as a children's ministry volunteer at Mid Atlantic Community Church, runs AACS's Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and works as an assistant coach for the Sparks Field Hockey Club, as well as the Mid Atlantic Community Church field hockey camp.
On top of all this, the 17-year-old has received awards for her art and English writing, been selected as a delegate to represent the state at the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders Conference, and is student leader for the school's visual arts department. "It's not been easy," White says of balancing her hectic schedule, which includes playing sports for 11 months a year.
"I think one of my strengths is being dedicated on and off the field. I have
to manage my time well and put forth full effort on school work and athletics. I think it really has helped me."
AACS athletic director Jim Domoracki says White, who is also a standout lacrosse player, has exemplary character. "She has a servant's heart," Domoracki explains. "She is a real leader. She puts her teammates above herself. She leads by example. It's a joy to coach your team when your best player is also your hardest worker. That's what Sydney is."
White knows she may even have to work harder in college since she plans to major in microbiology. She had some enviable choices when it came to schools.
William & Mary, Richmond, Massachusetts, and Delaware also aggressively recruited her for field hockey. The 5-foot-2 White verbally committed to Lehigh in June of last year. She'll sign a National Letter of Intent this month.
"I love the coaches and the players," White says of her choice of Lehigh. "It just felt right. By the time the phone call came around to commit there verbally, I actually planned on visiting Richmond and UMass, but the process with Lehigh was going so smoothly."
White has achieved a lot in field hockey, including cementing a place in AACS's history books. The four-year starter and midfielder set a freshman school record in 2015 with 18 goals and nine assists and two years later, she owned AACS career mark for goals (34), assists (26), and points (94).
White also plays field hockey outside her school team as much as she can, competing for the Gambrills-based Spark Field Hockey Club for the past eight years and participating in the USA Field Hockey Futures Program. She earned a spot on the National Futures Championship team in both 2015 and 2017.
"She is so driven, very hardworking, and super committed to the game," AACS Field Hockey Coach Mallory O'Hara says of White, a 2018 Eagles' co-captain who has been playing the sport for a decade. "She practices in her backyard by herself almost every day. She has incredible stick skills.
"There will be a lot of times when she goes up against four players," she adds. "And you will think, 'She will never get through them.' Then she goes through them with her incredible stickwork."
Her lacrosse stickwork is pretty good, too. The two-year varsity starter and defender gets AACS out of dangerous situations when the ball is around the Eagles' goal. "She is very reliable in helping us get the ball back up the field to our attack," AACS Girls Lacrosse Coach Deanna Thorpe says.
"I think playing lacrosse has made her a better field hockey player as far as field awareness, speed, and conditioning. She was very coachable and well-respected. She was willing to do whatever I asked her to do with a smile on her face."
Read the article here.