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Student returns from Scholar-Athlete Games

July 10, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Just back from a whirlwind week of activities at the University of Rhode Island, Caroline Woodhams is exploring her future in volleyball and academics as she prepares for her senior year at Boonsboro High School.

One of 1,500 high school students selected for the 2003 U.S. Scholar-Athlete Games, Woodhams said her experiences during the June 21-28 events were unforgettable.

"I thought it would be hard to meet so many new people but the speakers made it all very comfortable for us," she said. "We all shared common ground with our experiences and I made some lasting friendships."

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Her roommate was a dancer from Michigan, Woodhams said. In addition to her, Woodhams said she probably will stay in touch with a girl from Idaho she met at the event.

Among the speakers were former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown and Judy Shepard, president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Woodhams, 17, is both a setter and hitter on the Boonsboro varsity volleyball squad. She carries a 3.25 grade-point average and has been a member of Who's Who Among American Honor Students all three years at Boonsboro.

Kim Sebastiao, public relations director for the Institute for International Sport, said the games are a gathering of the most talented young scholar-artists and scholar-athletes from across the country and some foreign countries. During the games, Woodhams and the other athletic participants focused on one of 12 sports programs.

"We practiced every morning and had tournaments in the afternoon," she said.

When not involved in her sport, Woodhams spent time learning about global responsibility, world peace, ethics and sportsmanship, community service and efforts to curb domestic violence.

One of the speakers, Melanie Martin, is the president of the Silent Witness Program. Woodhams said that during her segment, painted cutouts of women who had been killed in domestic violence incidents were exhibited.

Woodhams' parents, Nicki and Keith Woodhams, drove to Rhode Island to spend the last three days nearby and with their daughter.

"She was contacted some time ago that she had been chosen for this," Nicki Woodhams said. "The cost to us was very reasonable - just $595 for eight days."

The rest of the $1,600 tab per student was provided through several private foundations and individuals, Sebastiao said.

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