St. Michael’s marks first college athletics signings

Danielle Jokerst and Caroline Meyers are pictured with Head Girls Soccer Coach Mary Kroening and Head Cross Country Coach Vince Fitzgerald. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

LEE’S SUMMIT — The year a new high school opens features many firsts. But how many new high schools can boast of college athletic signings their first year? St. Michael the Archangel High School can, and Athletic Director Rich Weitz thinks it awesome.

Two young women, Caroline Meyers and Danielle Jokerst, have committed to playing their sports in college.

Caroline ran track for St. John Francis Regis School before attending Archbishop O’Hara High School, where she ran track and cross country. Her main events in track are the 800-meter run, the 4 x 800-meter relay and the 4 x 400-meter relay.

Danielle fell in love with soccer while attending St. Thomas More School and continued as a Mid-fielder playing freshman year for Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park, Kan., and then for Archbishop O’Hara High School.

When O’Hara closed in May 2017 with the opening of St. Michael the Archangel in August, both Caroline and Danielle matriculated there for their senior year. Caroline continued running track and cross country, and Danielle continued playing soccer for their new alma mater. Last month Caroline signed a letter of intent to run track and cross country for U.M.K.C., and Danielle signed a letter of intent to play soccer for Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb.

Caroline elected to stay close to home, and her family wanted her to “do what made me happy.” Danielle has family in Lincoln, Neb., about 3 hours from Norfolk, and says she can easily visit them if she needs a break. Her parents and family are thrilled that she will continue playing soccer going forward.

Both will carry lessons learned in grade and high school with them.

Danielle said there is always hope, but believe in yourself. She plans to study psychology with the goal of eventually becoming a therapist. When asked if she thought about psyching out opposing soccer teams, Danielle just smiled and shook her head.

Caroline said the value and importance of family will remain with her. She plans to study education with an emphasis on Special Education. She would like to teach in a high school level program like the SMILE (St. Michael Inclusive Learning Enhancement) Program, a Special Education program for students with special needs at St. Michael the Archangel. It follows Individual Service Plans for each student along with individual attention and implementing Missouri Show-Me Standards and appropriate goals and benchmarks. SMILE students also have mentors, juniors and seniors who work with them in the classrooms.

“What would you say to an eighth grader nervous about attending high school?”

Danielle said, “Lots of kids are nervous about making it at first. Join sports. Coaches inspire and there’s always a plan. God has a plan for us. Don’t give up!”

Caroline said, “Be open, especially to new things to learn. You never know what could be good and good for you unless you try.”

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Thursday
August 16, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph