It's a term we often use to classify those who attend school while participating on an athletics team. Many categorize themselves as a student athlete, but do we actually know the value that this word truly holds? A student athlete must not only participate on their respective team and go to class. A student athlete is someone who can not only attend class and play sports, but someone who holds themselves to a high standard on and off the field while also translating their work ethic from the field into the classroom.
Someone who epitomizes the true meaning of a student athlete is Toshel Goffe, a senior at the Paul Robeson Educational Campus in Brooklyn, New York. Not only is Toshel one of the fastest girls in the state, but is extremely hardworking in the classroom as well. I was able to speak to Toshel as well as Horace Sutherland, the head coach of Paul Robeson. Through our conversation I was able to see exactly how an athlete as talented as Toshel is able to train at an elite level while also maintaining the specific tech requirements of the Paul Robeson School.
"Each athlete is required to have an 85 average in order to compete" said Coach Sutherland.
In a school such as Paul Robeson, student must adapt to the constant changes and obstacles that come along with being a student at school like Paul Robeson while playing a sport such as track, which unlike other sports, requires athletes to train year long. The work ethic of these student athletes is always on display no matter where they are.
"They come to meets with their work and will often complete assignments between races" added coach Sutherland. "They go to study hall, SAT help, and on days we are not training at the armory, they go to study hall and weight training" Also said Sutherland.
When asked if the athletes ever feel if the athletes ever feel burned put from all the work on and off the track, coach replied with "They (the girls) have the same drive on the track as they do off".
This is a testament to the incredible work ethic of the girls as well as the ability of the Paul Robeson school to produce amazing student athletes. It may also be noted that Paul Robeson Educational Campus is among the public high schools in New York and for these athletes to be able to maintain an equal balance of success on and off the track is a true testament to the dedication these athletes put in on and off the track.
As far as running goes, Sutherland believes the sky is the limit for Toshel. "She has the talent level to be an Olympian" he added, "She trains vigorously and always wants more".
While some may consider these goals lofty, Toshel feels otherwise as one of her goals on the track is to make it to the Olympic trials. "It is a goal of mine" she added.
Toshel and her coach have never been the type to accept defeat and often set the bar of success as winning. "Nobody remembers the person in 2nd place" said coach Sutherland.
After a second place finish in the preliminaries of the State 2018 55-meter dash and a 4th place finish in the finals, Toshel came into 2019 with a chip on her shoulder.
"She came to me after that race and told me it was her time to rule" said Coach Sutherland, "She's hungry for the state title" he added.
Toshel has always stood out on the track, as Sutherland said "She caught my eye as a freshman and was brought up to work with the varsity team. From then on she's made improvement from her freshman year to senior year at a reasonable pace".
Toshel has the potential for greatness. Her work ethic and demeanor give her the ability to carry herself wherever she wants in her life.
Horace Sutherland also mentioned her character as another one of her strengths. "She is not someone who dwells on her past victories and accomplishments" Sutherland added "She has a very introverted personality".
These characteristics are rarely seen in an athlete like Toshel. She is able to consistently maintain good grades in a educationally demanding school such as Paul Robeson while competing at an elite level. This type of maturity is rarely seen in athletes her age. As Toshel nears the end of her high school career, we can all expect much success to come for her. This success comes as now surprise to herself as well as her coach. One thing is certain for Toshel Goffe: the sky is the limit for this promising young star.