Elana Kavanagh flourishes socially through new and unbreakable bonds

Elana Kavanagh flourishes socially through new and unbreakable bonds

Freshman Elana Kavanagh’s love for traveling consists of enthusiastically exploring various states, except Kentucky.

Hopping from one state to another, Elana and her family find themselves every spring break in a new state. Coming from a close-bundled relationship between her parents and sibling, she finds her position as the eldest a desired role. 

“[My family and I] are really close with each other,” Elana said. “I have a younger sister named Emma and a [younger] step-brother named Ian, [so] I’m the oldest. I definitely like having younger siblings more than older siblings because I feel like older siblings are mean; however, I feel like maybe being the older sibling has made me a bit bossy.”

Her family’s relationship has allowed her to experience sight-seeing in a variety of states. Creating well-spent memories, both with family and with friends, Elana finds herself reminiscing about her past travels often.

“Last spring break, my friend Ella [and I] went to Florida together,” Elana said, “[but] my favorite [trip] would probably be Las Vegas, Nevada. We stayed in a Paris themed [hotel room] and got a view of the Eiffel tower—the fake one.”

But while she enjoys Florida with friends and the sites of Las Vegas—real or not—her excitement about traveling ends with one specific state: Kentucky.

“[My team and I] traveled to Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana—basically the Midwest,” Elana said. “My least favorite was Kentucky; it was just so incredibly boring.”

Despite the vehement distaste for Kentucky, her constant expeditions satisfy her drive to be active through the sport of volleyball. 

Regularly playing the past three years, her love for activity has led her to juggle school and the freshman volleyball team. In the middle position, Elana has influentially helped her team go almost undefeated their previous season.

“I used to play basketball for MBA,” Elana said, “but I stopped to play volleyball instead for Far Out. For a while, I was doing basketball and volleyball at the same time, but I guess I just liked volleyball a lot more than I liked basketball, so I just decided to quit basketball altogether.”

After reaching this decision, she has dedicated much of her time to this sport between trips; however, her hard work has paid off with the team’s season achievements.

“We went almost undefeated,” said Elana, her middle position powerfully aiding teammates against opposing teams. “We lost one game—I think the second to last game—but other than that, we did really [well].” 

Elana has come to love all aspects of volleyball, even the extensive two-hour training that’s required three days a week. In spite of how demanding volleyball can be, her bright character finds ways to bring positive energy to practice.

“[Volleyball] does take away time from doing school work,” Elana said. “But I really enjoy playing volleyball and being on the team, so I like the longer practices.” 

From club to school volleyball, she finds herself enjoying the season’s offerings more than ever. Through exhaustive work, Elana has managed to form unbreakable friendships on and off the court, both at FHC and other schools.

“Most of my upperclassmen friends are from different schools,” Elana said. “[In] the club season, I’m friends with people from Hudsonville, Jenison, Byron Center, [and] all over. I like playing with my classmates more than I like playing with random people from other schools, [and] I definitely like school season more than club season.”

Finding new friends alongside playing a sport she loves, Elana’s social life has blossomed this past year. Not only does she find time to grow as a role model and older sister for her siblings, but she also embodies a social butterfly through her love of the memories and friends she has made through traveling and volleyball.

With her colorful passions and social tendencies, Elana jumps into life to its fullest, staying active and forming bonds like no other, and she has volleyball to thank for a majority of that.

“I love playing for the school,” Elana said. “I feel like [volleyball] has allowed me to exercise and build bonds with people that I didn’t think I’d ever be friends with; [my teammates and I] have become close over the course of this year so far.”