Achieving Goals, On and Off the Field

By Celiana Torres of Intrinsic Charter High School

I am an athlete. My family is a soccer family. I started playing the game when I was three-years-old. Back then, I always had to play with the boys, because there were never any girls teams. Eventually, girls soccer became more popular and I started to play on a competitive travel soccer team, but I never thought it would take me so far.

I am also a scholar; although, I didn’t begin my life feeling like one. I attended elementary and middle school at both traditional public and Catholic schools. The teachers at my schools were strict, and I never felt a passion for learning like I did for soccer. When my family and I began the high school search process, we looked for a place in my neighborhood that I would learn to love academics. Intrinsic Charter School was a match. I entered the lottery for Intrinsic and was so excited to get in.

The transition into Intrinsic was certainly challenging at first. All expectations rose – behaviorally and academically. But that year truly changed my life. As my soccer skills improved, so did my academic drive. I started to see college as something to strive for, somewhere that I could follow my dreams on and off the field. At Intrinsic, we were taught to set goals and work hard to achieve them. I began to realize that if wanted to get into a great college, I’d have to get to work immediately.

While I learned to work hard in school, our teachers also taught us about balance. When I find something that I love, that I’m passionate about – like soccer – I always want to give it my all. However, as I’ve grown to be passionate about more than one thing, I know that I need to strike a balance. There is a time for work and a time to step back and relax. That is very important at Intrinsic.

My sophomore year brought great highs and lows. In the beginning of the year, I was offered a full scholarship to Southern Methodist University for soccer and for academics. My family and I were incredibly excited. Into the year, however, I tore my ACL and was completely devastated. I didn’t know what to expect from this injury. Would I ever recover from this injury? Would I be able to play at Southern Methodist? My friends, family, teachers, and coaches supported me. They encouraged me to never give up. After seven months of rehab, I returned to the soccer field.

I made huge progress going into my junior year. I was able to play in the World Cup on the Mexican national team and even won an award for being one of the highest soccer scorers in Mexico – the only female to win this award. It was awesome to have my confidence on the field again; however, I did miss quite a bit of class-time. The staff at Intrinsic understood my situation. Despite the fact that this young school has never had a student-athlete in my situation before, they worked with me to achieve my academic goals. Later into the year, however, I tore my other ACL. The second tear wasn’t as mentally trying as the first one – I knew what to expect and I knew I’d be ok, especially with such a great support system.

Now, I am a senior. I recently started playing again and feel stronger than before. One of the most exciting parts of my athletic career was National Signing Day. Across the country, this day is a really big deal for all athletes who are officially committing to play at a Division 1 college or university and the high schools they come from. Since I was the first D1 athlete to ever come out of Intrinsic, I didn’t know what to expect from Signing Day at my school. I was a bit nervous. But, it was awesome! They threw me a huge ceremony. As I sat in the front of the auditorium with my parents, my principal gave a speech about my growth as a scholar and an athlete. It was heartwarming to see all of my classmates, teachers, and family members cheering me on as I signed my commitment letter to play for Southern Methodist University. I plan on studying sports psychology and human rights. I love sports and helping people. This seems like the perfect way to bring my passions together!