BY GARY LEE
As the blare of the whistles sound in the background, all eyes were on her. With a ball in hand and her teammates by her side, Imani Lee makes the first move on the volleyball court towards victory.
Junior Imani Lee has always had a knack for the outdoors. Not only is she in varsity volleyball, but she is also in junior varsity for track and field. ndoors, she is a proud member of the Associated Student Body (ASB) and also a soprano in Aria.
According to Lee, her volleyball journey began back in middle school when her friend dragged her to volleyball tryouts.
“My friend was the one who encouraged me to try out because I did not want to in the first place,” Lee said. “My sister was already a part of the team and also told me to try out. I ended up making it but my friend did not so that was devastating. I really started enjoying it more towards the end of eighth grade when I was the captain of the team and I now also play on a club volleyball team.”
Years later, she is happily playing on the school’s varsity team, cherishing her games and spreading the joys and wonders of volleyball amongst her friends.
“One of my most memorable moments with the sport was definitely my last point of school volleyball in sophomore year,” Lee said. “It was the first time that I got to play with my best friend Alisa De La Rosa. I taught her everything she knew about volleyball and as a result, she became a part of our varsity team,” Lee said. “I remember the last point of the game so vividly. I was hitting outside and she set a ball all the way from the other side of the court to me and it was too close to the net which led to me having a hard time hitting it. We laughed about it every time we thought of high school volleyball.”
Moreover, volleyball now means so much more to Lee as she wants to pursue the sport as a career in the future.
“When I first started playing, I did not think much of it. I just thought of it as something fun to do with friends,” Lee said. “But, now volleyball means so much more and that it has shown me it is what I want to pursue in the future. I really want to go to college and hopefully be recruited through volleyball.”
Additionally, even with COVID-19, Lee works very hard every day in order to pursue her future goals.
“Due to quarantine, I have not been able to attend practices as much as I wanted to. As a result, I would work out every day at home unless it was a rest day, then I would just stretch. I would try to work out as much as possible, usually for a minimum of 30 minutes, but I would go for one to two hours,” Lee said. “I always make sure to practice my skills so that when I return to the court, I can perform better. I also occasionally go biking at the park and do workouts there.”
As part of her overall experience, Lee explains that volleyball has taught her that she can accomplish anything dedicate herself to.
“Volleyball has taught me that I can do whatever I can put my mind to, whether it is to get stronger, jump higher or just be a better player and person in general,” Lee said.
In addition, Lee believes that for anyone wishing to join the volleyball team, the best solution is hard work and dedication.
“My advice is to just work hard and put in the effort to get better,” Lee said. “I believe loving the sport is important because it is competitive out there and you have to give it your all. If you do not really love volleyball and refuse to put in the work, then maybe it is not the sport for you.”
Following the same field of expertise, Lee also participates in track and field.
“Ever since freshman year, I have always wanted to do track because everyone is always telling me how fast and athletic I am. In truth, I did not enjoy running long distances and I realized in track, short distance was an option. So I joined track my sophomore year,” Lee said. “I am currently in long-jump and am going into the four by one, which consists of running around the track once in a relay race with four people.”
Aside from her sports activities, Lee is also a proud contributing member of ASB.
“When researching about ASB, I realized that they had a poster-making group and I really wanted to be a part of that. I applied my sophomore year and got in. Now I get to do what I love, and I am just so grateful for the opportunity to be in ASB.”
Along with all of her entrancing achievements, she also makes herself known on stage.
“Similar to volleyball, I have been in choir since six grade. I became president of Soundsations during my eighth-grade year. Being president was a big deal;I was so proud of myself for being able to take on such a big leadership role,” Lee said. “Moving into high school, I was in Sorellé my first year, which was the second top of all women choir. I got into Aria, which is the top of choir, my sophomore year and plan on staying for the rest of high school.”
Moreover, Lee stated she has always had a passion for singing ever since she was little.
“I have always loved to sing since I was little and hope to inspire people who come to our school,” Lee said. “I want to tell them that you can sing at the best level if you just practice and put in hard work. This year I am Aria’s chief of staff and taking on a leadership role over quarantine has definitely been difficult, but I hope to keep people engaged and wanting to continue to sing and enhance their love for singing.”
Now looking back at all of her activities, anyone would find it overbearing or difficult to maintain. To rise above this challenge, Lee explains that it is all about time management and making full use of your day.
“Sometimes it is tough to juggle all of these activities together. The thing that keeps me the sanest is definitely my planning skills,” Lee said. “Every day before school starts, I write down a schedule and what I am going to do for the entire day. I think this really helps and that a lot of people do not realize how much free time there can be in a day. It really helped me organize and set my priorities straight for the day.”
In the future, Lee hopes to be able to work at a job helping others and to be able to raise a happy family.
“After college, I want to be a private investigator and work in the FBI, using body language to solve crimes and help others. I want to hopefully have a family and adopt children, as well as stay in close touch with my friends. I hope one day I can experience a job at Disneyland, Universal Studios, or in the FBI. I also hope to travel the world with my family,” Lee said.
With her unmatched dedication to her craft, Imani Lee marches forward towards a future of her own creation.