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Three Sport Athlete Headed for UCLA
Posted On:
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Pioneer Valley football, basketball and volleyball player Kevin Anderson is heading to UCLA in the fall. The three-sport star earned an academic scholarship to the university.  (Photo courtesy of Daniel Dreifuss, SM Times Photographer)
Pioneer Valley football, basketball and volleyball player Kevin Anderson is heading to UCLA in the fall. The three-sport star earned an academic scholarship to the university. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Dreifuss, SM Times Photographer)

Preparing to enter life after high school, that’s what Pioneer Valley senior Kevin Anderson is looking forward to after Thursday’s graduation.

The three-sport athlete — who played football, basketball and volleyball for the Panthers — is looking forward to the challenges that come after high school.

“So much is going through my head. First, I want to make sure I finish everything I need to,” Anderson said. “I am getting prepared to enter what is known as the ‘real world’, making the shift from simple high school to college life and beyond.”

Anderson, who graduates with a 4.40 grade point average, will be attending UCLA. He’ll get financial aid after winning The Gates Millennium Scholarship, which is a good-through-graduation scholarship. It is funded by a 1.6 billion dollar grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and is given to only 1,000 students nationwide each year.

“It’s an academic scholarship but they also emphasize the characteristic of leadership,” Anderson said. “I filled out an application where I talked about my leadership abilities both on and off the field. It’s a scholarship that will pay for my four years at UCLA.”

Following in his fathers footsteps, Anderson will be pursuing a degree in medicine at UCLA.

One of the ways that Kevin has shown leadership is the way that he can balance school with the rigorous schedule of athletics at Pioneer Valley.

“It’s fairly difficult, not a cake walk. It’s a challenge having to balance both,” Anderson said. “The first part of student-athlete is the academic part, so classroom always takes precedence over athletics. I always had that motto that ‘when in doubt just do my homework over go to practice.’”

Athletic Director Greg Dickinson also praised Anderson for the leadership abilities he shows.

“What you look for from your student athletes is if they are a student first. He is committed to being a good student, committed to being involved in ASB and leadership roles,” Dickinson said. “He leads by example with his work ethic and how he carries himself. I’d be proud to have a son as smart as Kevin.”

While Anderson has many moments that he will take with him from high school, one that means a lot to him is a touchdown he scored during Pioneer Valley’s homecoming game.

“On homecoming night, I scored what was the go-ahead touchdown. That was one thing that definitely stuck with me,” Anderson said. “It served as a monumental accomplishment for me and validated my hard work.”

Being a Pioneer Valley Panther means becoming a better person for Anderson.

“It means pride, respect in both myself and those around me, it means honor, leadership both on and off the court,” Anderson said. “It means leading by example, just a high respect for being a Panther.”

Leaving high school is a big step for the senior, as he realizes what he will leave behind and also how he must grow up in a hurry.

“It’s getting to me. I am starting to realize that I am not gong to be a kid anymore. I have to account for myself and its starting to hit me.” Anderson said.

Keep an open mind, that is the advice that Anderson wants to send to incoming freshman and the rest of his fellow Panthers who are still attending PVHS.

“Its a great place for both academics and athletics. Keep an open mind and try new stuff,” Anderson said, “Keep persevering.”

As for how Kevin sums up his time at Pioneer Valley, the word character comes to mind.

“It’s definitely a character builder for me. It’s awe inspiring. The fact that I was able to look back at my freshman self and see the transformation,” Anderson said. “It is humbling as well. It’s character for me.”

Article by Chris Aguirre, Sportwsriter, SM Times 6/5/12

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