Skyers of St Hugh's flying high with sport of lacrosseWednesday, January 13, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
AFTER dedicating her entire high school life to the sport of lacrosse at St Hugh's High School for Girls, Janicia Skyers is set this fall to take up both a lacrosse and academic scholarship at Elmhurst University in the United States ,
As her athletic and scholastic abilities have helped the 17-year-old secure the award overseas, she plans to study chemistry on her way to becoming a forensic scientist.
A balanced school life has helped to ensure that the cost for her tertiary education is covered.
“In total I have nine CXC subjects to my name, including two distinctions. I left high school with an average GPA of 3.6,” Skyers said.
She started St Hugh's in first form and fell in love with lacrosse from then.
“I was following in the shadow of my cousin and I decided that since she was going to leave St Hugh's [before me] I needed to make a name for myself and find myself.
“Luckily, I found lacrosse in the same time period and it allowed me to be the person I am today — confident, disciplined, independent, determined and driven for success,” she stated.
Skyers is pleased with the growth of the sport during the time she had been at St Hugh's and believes there is a bright future ahead for the sport and the girls there.
“It has grown tremendously. There are a lot of things that we have now that weren't there when I started playing. We have a great coach and a great set of girls that are still there to carry on the winning streak that I helped to set those years ago,” she noted.
Skyers has had a leadership role in the team for years, something she credits with helping to mould her into the person she is today. She was co-captain from 2015-2017 when St Hugh's won three straight titles, and captain of the 2020 champions.
Skyers has helped her school win a total of four titles.
“Honestly, it was one of the greatest positions I could have obtained; it helped me with my time management skills. I became captain in the final lap of high school so being captain, and having CXC on the other hand, was a lot a work so I had to schedule my time accordingly.
“It helped me with my communication skills. Some of the girls on my team are more sensitive than others so I had to learn their personalities and learn how to get through to them accordingly.
“It helped with enhancing my responsibility levels. I have to think ahead so that if my coach is late or absent, I know that I am in charge of making sure the girls are warmed up and ready for any activity that he throws at us,” she said.
Leadership, Skyers noted, “helped with my mental stability”.
“Being captain...all eyes are on you, so I have to make sure that the energy that I'm bringing to the table is a 120 per cent so that the girls can push the same.
“I have to stay mentally strong for any outcome so, win or lose, when I stay positive throughout my girls also stay positive — and in the end we all go back to the drawing board humble and with pride,” she stated.
Skyers isn't the only member of her team to be offered a lacrosse scholarship and could soon be joined by some of her teammates in the USA.
“Most of our senior girls who are here and recently graduated were all offered scholarships from the schools they applied to, but I'm the first from my high school team to commit to college with a lacrosse and academic scholarship,” she explained.
Skyers gave a ringing endorsement to Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JLA) for exposing children to a completely new experience.
“Even though the national programme is young and still growing I think that it's one of the best programme in Jamaica at the moment. It allows kids to have different dreams and aspirations other than the norms in Jamaica's society.
“It allows phenomenal friendships to be made and a family outside our biological family. The programme allows kids to be themselves while creating a creative and productive safe haven for youths.
“Most of us didn't even know what lacrosse was before JLA introduced it to the high school level, and now [the] majority of us haven't looked back since we started playing. Even though the programme is small and may not be able to meet all the expectations of some viewers, it still has a great impact on youths and definitely makes up for what is lacking — and I wouldn't exchange them for nothing,” Skyers reasoned.
As for her new school, the attacking player is ready to bring it in full force.
“[Iwill bring] the impact of my radiant personality, the skills and tricks that I've learnt from friends, both on the field and in the classroom,” said Skyers.
Like so many other high school students, Janicia Skyers has benefited significantly from taking on the challenge of lacrosse.
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