News Column

Goshen's Joleen Miller keeps balances busy schedule between school, family, soccer team and marching band

September 4, 2014

By Steve Krah, The Elkhart Truth, Ind.



Sept. 04--GOSHEN -- If it appears that Joleen Miller is always at Goshen High School, it's because she practically is.

An ultra-full day at GHS that sometimes approaches 15 hours includes classes, soccer games or practices and band competitions, performances or practices.

"Sometimes it seems like I live here," says Miller. "I'm here all the time."

But the busy teen wouldn't have it any other way.

"I do enjoy it a lot. It's a lot of great memories, too," says Miller. "Sometimes it's hard, but overall I've noticed that when I am busier I actually focus more and get my homework done. It pushes me to stay on-task."

An outside midfielder for the Redskins girls soccer team and a member of the band's drum line (the former bassoon and cymbals player is striking the bass drum this year), Miller enjoys juggling athletics and music while keeping up with her studies and spending time with her family. She is the daughter of Kevin and Lisa Miller and younger sister of Brice Miller.

On Wednesday nights and Sundays, she can be found at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church.

Miller has her sights on being a pre-medicine major in college, perhaps leading to a career as a pediatrician or chiropractor (her brother's profession).

Miller says soccer coach Dan Graber and band directors Tom Cox and Josh Kaufman work together to allow her and others to experience both.

"It does not work for everyone," says Graber. "It takes a special kind of kid."

Others doing the soccer/band double are senior Jessica Oyer, sophomore Daniela Ruiz and freshman Ashley Sanchez.

"I really want to encourage it," says Graber of athletes who wish to also be involved in band or choir. "We have to be flexible as coaches. It's not easy, but you make it work as kids. Music has a very powerful effect on people. The important thing is that they're happy and enjoying what they're doing.

"High school only comes around once in your life."

Last fall, Miller made memories when she played in a sectional soccer game and then went to the other side of the Elkhart Memorial campus to compete in band.

On the soccer field, Miller has turned into a quiet leader. She played enough varsity as a freshman to earn a letter, played more as a sophomore then became a starter as a junior.

"She's always been a contributor," says Graber. "She's developed and got better every step of the way. She is one of the better outside mids we've had in a long time. She reads the game real well."

As a midfielder and captain for a squad that is 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Northern Lakes Conference on the heels of a 15-2-1 season in 2013, Miller sees her role as a link between Goshen's offense and defense.

"I kind of see the midfielder like the connector," says Miller. "It's helping both sides."

Not the rah-rah type, Miller leads by example.

"She's always working hard and looking out for her teammates," says Graber. "She goes out of her way to make others feel like they are part of the team."

___

(c)2014 The Elkhart Truth (Elkhart, Ind).

Visit The Elkhart Truth (Elkhart, Ind). at www.elkharttruth.com

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Source: Truth, The (Elkhart County, IN)


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