- Parma City School District
It's all about the team for Parma High senior Grace Jacobs
September 30, 2019
At some point, we’ve all seen inspirational posters about teamwork in some kind of office. Poignant and heartfelt, these posters usually try to inspire you to think more about everyone else, rather than yourself.
Spend just 10 minutes with Grace Jacobs, and by the end, you’ll have plenty of team-related inspiration to take away.
The senior at Parma Senior High competes for the Redmen in three different sports - volleyball, basketball and track. By the time she graduates this spring, she will have earned three varsity letters in all three sports, for a total of nine letters.
She leads by example, as a team captain in both volleyball and basketball. She’s earned an All-League Honorable Mention in volleyball, and Second Team All-League in basketball, all while maintaining a 4.1 grade point average.
Described by Parma Senior High School Athletic Director Ryan Madison as “extremely competitive” and “diving all around the court,” Jacobs accepted a different role this year in volleyball after starting off the season with an injury. She is now playing middle back instead of outside hitter in the front, resulting in the team having more flexibility with the roster.
“I love being an outside hitter, because when I go up to swing, and I get that ace, it’s one of the best feelings in the world,” Jacobs expressed. “I’m so proud of myself, and everyone is cheering for me. It makes me so happy. And then I see other people do it, and I want to give back to them. I cheer for them, too, when they get an ace.”
Jacobs admits that basketball is her favorite sport. The 5’10” post player speaks of her Redmen basketball teammates and coach Chuck Caldwell more like family members than teammates.
Over the last four years, one of her best sports memories wasn’t a win or raising some trophy. Rather, it was a loss to a tough Normandy basketball team three years ago which built confidence in her and her team.
“We were all working as a team, we were beating them, we were in the lead,” Jacobs remembered. “I remember that because it was the first time all season that I felt that teamwork, that competition, that adrenaline. We were neck and neck, and it boosted everyone’s confidence. Yeah we lost, but, it was the best game we had that whole season...When I played well in that game, it boosted my confidence and I was more fearless on the court. I wasn’t as afraid to be bold.”
Basketball or volleyball, it doesn’t matter. The team always comes first for Jacobs.
“When one person on the court is not going their hardest, then everyone else has to work even more,” Jacobs said. “That’s not what we are here for. We’re here for everyone to work 100 percent and contribute to the team. In volleyball, it’s a little bit different. When you have a bad pass, and you lose that point, it’s done. If you have a bad pass in basketball, there’s still a chance to make it up, you can still work to make up for it.”
In track and field, the four year letter winner competes in four separate events, one very much not like the others.
A member of the 4 x 400m and 4 x 800m relay teams, she also uncharacteristically competes in the solo 400m dash. However, she participates in the pole vault for the Redmen, which she started originally to “get out of running.”
Even though track presents more individual competition than volleyball or basketball, the team is still the most important concept for Jacobs.
“In the 4 x 400m, if one person slacks, then somebody can actually make it up,” Jacobs said. “We all have to do it as a team. If one person is in first, and you get the hand-off, then you can’t let that person down. You can’t lose all of their work. You have to do your part for them. That’s what I like about it - your team holds you accountable.”
With an academic slate filled with AP and Honors courses, along with playing the flute in the Redmen Marching Band, Jacobs looks forward to next year, and college. She is currently looking to attend Ohio University to study Forensic Chemistry.
Jacobs still has plenty of time left for competition, school, and leadership on the court, before graduation.
“At Parma, we don’t have bad sportsmanship, we play our hearts out,” Jacobs expressed. “We respect the game, and some people don’t. That’s why I’m proud to be at Parma, because we want to be better people and not just better players with better skills.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Jacobs serves the ball at a recent volleyball game at Parma Senior High School.