OUTSTANDING STUDENT: Leah Harper

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Age 15/Hagerty High School /Sailboat Skipper

Building Interest: My family had a Hobie 18 when I was growing up, and whenever we wanted to do something, we would go sailing. I always wanted to do it on my own. So, my mom found Lake Eustis Sailing Foundation, and I decided to race. The club has a youth program, and the sailors help coach the beginners.

Favorite thing about sailing: I really like the environment. When we go to sailing races, I really like seeing all the different kinds of people at a regatta. All the race kids, we grew up together. It’s a great environment.

The Club: Our club may be unique in this. Each practice we switch it up and you have a different partner. We’re really well rounded. All of us can crew, and most of us can skipper. I’m mostly a skipper.

Competition:  There is the high school team race. We are a composite race. There will be 20 to 30 boats. It’s a lot to take in. It takes a lot of stamina, and you have to be good at communicating with your crew. You can’t t have a 10-minute conversation; you kind of have to know what the other is thinking.

Plans for the future: I absolutely want to be on a college team. I would like to go to Stanford because they have a really awesome sailing team.


 


Greatest lessons: It takes a lot of communication, standing up for what you think is right according to the rules, and focus. You really have to know how to communicate. You have to know how to get your ideas across fast. I learned a lot about how to stay focused.

Influences: My number one influence for sailing is my dad; he initially taught me how to sail. He pushes me to work hard, and he gets excited at regattas. And my friend Bailey on the team, I always wanted to be better than him, so that always pushed me to do better.

Favorite quote: “You can’t do anything that you don’t work for.”


PHOTO: Fred Lopez

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