Walter Prince had options when it came to choosing his high school.
After completing 1st through 8th grade at CCSD’s Challenge School, Prince was debating between a number of high schools in the district. A variety of factors steered his decision, not the least being his passion and skill as a soccer player. He considered coaches, stats and records from different schools. He considered attending Cherry Creek High.
Ultimately, he opted for Smoky Hill, a decision that involved more than just sports. Prince had an early commitment to academics, and the school’s International Baccalaureate program held a special appeal.
“As soon as I got in to IB, I said, ‘I’ve got to go to Smoky Hill,’” Prince said. The decision would prove a boon for the academic and athletic sides of his life. “My sophomore year, we had a breakout season and went to the state title … Ever since, the program has been very strong.”
Prince’s love for soccer is impossible to miss when he talks about his career at Smoky Hill. With little thought, he ticks off the winning and losing record of his freshman, sophomore and junior years as context; he speaks with visible determination when the subject of the 2014-15 season comes up. But Prince insists that the soccer field has only been a small part of what’s made the decision to attend Smoky Hill so valuable.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned through high school is that you have to find connections …Through meeting new teachers and coaches, you get this huge web of people,” he added, pointing specifically to the networking he found through his soccer coach and fellow athletes. “I’ve found so many different colleges I can go to through my coach.”
Academics will play a big part in Prince’s path to college, just as it did in his choice of high school. Though he holds lofty ambitions to continue his career as a soccer player, he’s also committed to pursuing an ambitious academic career. He’s already committed to an eventual career in the medical field.
“At this point, I’d love to go into a pre-med program. Cornell University has a great pre-med program and a great team,” he said, pointing to the university in Ithaca, New York, where he’s already completed a summer camp for athletes. “Having the opportunity to play Division One soccer would open some doors, but academics come first. Whatever happens will happen, and I’m just weighing the options right now.”
Prince still has the full timeframe of his senior year to make those decisions. Even so, that process will come along with a full slate of activities, athletics and other extra-curricular activities. It’s a full pace that Prince has come to demand of himself; his time at Smoky Hill has set a pattern of consistent involvement and constant work.
“It was a gift and curse, being so involved,” he said. “That was biggest struggle I had, but I needed that. I need to stay busy. I need to stay involved. It’s the best thing I could do, especially at a school like Smoky Hill that has so many opportunities.”
-- Posted Aug. 25, 2014