Michaela McLeod of West Milford High School committed to play for Drew University. She plans to study Pre-Med/Health, to possibly earn a degree in Physical Therapy or Athletic Training.
Throughout her high school career Michaela has had multiple colleges pursuing her. Michaela shared, “I was actually pretty stressed out about deciding where I wanted to go. I’m not that good at making decisions, let alone making probably the biggest decision of my life. Around the end of January, Coach Olenowski contacted me and ended up coming to one of my games. I loved how personable he was and how he really saw who I was as a player and appreciated me. He continued to come to more games after that and even came to the Bergen vs. Passaic All Star game.”
Here is a clip of Michaela playing in the game:
— Reggie Malz (@ExaminerNJ) March 27, 2017
After going to visit the campus and meeting the team, Michaela fell in love with the school. The close location to home was also a huge plus for Michaela. She wanted to continue her leadership at Young Life, which is her church’s youth group which is possible due to attending a school so close to home.
Throughout her high school career Michaela has spent time in both the regular brick and mortar high school institute, but has also been homeschooled. She did dual enrollment throughout her senior year and earned 12 college credits with a 4.0 GPA. Although she primarily played point guard for West Milford, she will play a 2-3 guard for Drew University.
In addition to being a great student, competitive basketball player, and good person, Michaela is also very spiritual. She is widely involved with volunteer work and her church. Recently she had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Cachi, which is a small village in Costa Rica. Michaela has always had a lifelong goal of combining her love for Spanish and basketball together to help others. The mission trip was led by her uncle and she and her best friend Natalie accompanied him along with 11 Alaskans on a trip to work on the second level of a local church. Michaela described,
“We had the opportunity to be immersed in the culture. We went to a mall one of the days and got to speak with the locals and share the gospel with them. This was really cool for me because I got to practice my Spanish while getting to share about the Creator. Another day we ran a fun day in the town field. It was a day full of just hanging out with the kids from Cachí. This was one of my favorite days. We played tag, did face painting, played soccer, flew kites, and just talked. I love how even though we really didn’t have much in common, but we were still able to connect with each other because of our great love for our Father. The last thing I’ll say about this trip is that Natalie and I spent the week with our host family – Laura, Karin, Jimena, Valerie, and Filipe. They only spoke in Spanish, which is exactly what we had wanted. We were able to build relationships with them that we would not have been able to if we didn’t speak Spanish. They were the most loving, fun, and patient family I’ve ever met. We are still able to talk with them now through an app, which is amazing. I hope to visit them in the future. This trip really changed my life and gave me a whole new perspective on how to live. One thing people in the village said all the time was ‘Pura Vida.’ Life doesn’t have to be stressful. I’ve learned that it’s better to just trust in what God has planned for me rather than worrying.”