The fall is a busy time of the year for a student, with the start of back to school and a wide the variety of extracurriculars offered. The fall opportunities a student can be involved in are highlighted by football, cheerleading, band, volleyball and cross country. Each of these teams require dedication and blocking out hours of practice time along with the start of a new year of academics. Being a part of one of these activities can be consuming, stressful and a life lesson in time management for students. In Van Alstyne there are not many students more involved in the fall than Rachel Greve. Rachel is the daughter of Dee and Kevin Greve and is a VAHS Senior, who is involved in volleyball, cross country and marching band.

“Rachel is one of the busiest, most dedicated and committed student I have observed,” said Tim Fulton, VAHS Band Director.

A typical day for Rachel begins at “dark 30” as her mother Dee calls it, or 5:30 a.m. Rachel arrives at the high school at 6 a.m. for cross country practice. Immediately following a workout of a three to four mile run around the high school, Rachel sprints to morning band practice before the first bell of the school day. But before she heads to an academic class, she is in the gym for volleyball practice.

Before the first book of the day is opened, Rachel said, “I’m thoroughly exhausted and it is not even nine in the morning yet.”

After wrapping up the morning gamut, Rachel heads to the classroom where she is ranked in the top 3% of her graduating class. She doesn’t let up when it comes to her class load. Her class schedule is full of Advanced Placement (AP) classes in Latin, Literature and Physics and Dual Credit (college and high school classes) Biology and Government.

Van Alstyne High School principal Jeremiah Johnson has noticed the time management skills that Rachel has developed and how important the lessons are for her future. “It is not uncommon to see Rachel doing homework in the bleachers before or after volleyball games,” said Johnson. “I constantly remind students to stay actively involved in extracurricular activities to prepare for the next step in their life. Time management and setting priorities are essential skills that these students learn if they challenge themselves both in and out of the classroom.”

For Rachel, her days are filled with leaving home in the dark and returning in the dark. Rachel said that most nights she doesn’t arrive home until 9:30 p.m. For band students, Mondays are big show practice nights on the field. Tuesday and Friday are game days for volleyball, so following school it is either getting on the bus or in the gym for volleyball. Either way, whether on the bus or in the stands, there is time to capture for some kind of homework assignment. When asked which day of the week is the hardest for her, Rachel said, “Tuesday is by far the hardest day of my week. Monday tends to be a very long day, starting with 6 a.m. Cross Country practice and ending with me getting home at 9:30 p.m. after band rehearsal. No amount of sleep Monday night can prepare me for the following Tuesday.”

This schedule is not something new to Rachel — she has been involved in volleyball and band for all four years in high school, and she added running cross country as a sophomore. There are times where she longs for a “normal” schedule, to have the substantial amount of free time that she might see in others lives, to drop some some of the load and stress. But then she would not be herself.

“When I imagine my life without the involvement in these activities, it feels incomplete,” Rachel said. “My schedule is more than just something I do — it’s who I am; I have done these things for so long and with so much heart, that to drop one would be akin to cutting out a part of myself.”

In her time as a Panther, she has been a part of successful programs in competitions. She has marched in the Alamodome in state marching band competition. The Lady Panthers made the state volleyball playoffs, and she will run at the state cross country meet in Round Rock this weekend.

One of the most important components to Rachel is not just the thrill of competing, but the bonds that are formed in the journey. Each of these extracurriculars are more about the people attached to them and being a part of the team or actually family.

“I spend hundreds of hours with them (teammates) from August to November. In a way we are like any normal family, the quarrels, the make-up sessions, the inside jokes,” said Rachel. “We have shared laughter and tears, shouts and hugs. Most of all, we share a part of our lifetime together, and each player takes something different away from the time we have spent as a team.”

Volleyball coach Veronica Valdez has noticed that commitment to the teammates. “We have been blessed to have her on the volleyball team,” sais Valdez. “She takes care of all of her responsibilities while also taking care of her teammates time and time again. She is a Lady Panther through and through.”

Rachel’s parents take great pride in how she has kept her passion and commitment throughout high school.

“Kevin and I couldn’t be more proud of Rachel, her accomplishments, dedication and sacrifice,” said her mother. “She never, ever quits! She accepts all challenges presented to her, both academically and extra-curricular, and faces them head on with a fierceness and determination only passion can conquer. She amazes us with her drive and ability to successfully manage her schedule, maintain her grades and still have time for volunteer work and the occasional entire day at home with the family.”

Rachel’s future plans after high school are not to slow down and the lessons she has learned are sure to apply in her future. She has narrowed down her choices for college to A&M College Station, UT Austin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I would like to study Aerospace Engineering or prosthetic design in college, and these colleges have very respectable STEM programs,” Rachel said.

The impact that Rachel has made to her teammates, classmates and underclassmen was recognized by Valdez. “She is such an inspiration and a great role model for all the qualities we teach here at Van Alstyne High School. Not many high school aged students would be able to time manage as well as she does while also having a positive attitude and great work ethic throughout an entire fall season,” Valdez said.