Today’s teens get a bad rap. A TV talking head recently dismissed all of “Generation Text” as “self-centered, materialistic, disrespectful and lazy.” It left me SMH. He clearly never met the athletes featured in our 18 Under 18 package.
We here at ESPNHS know girls are capable of great things on the field (or the court or the course) because we have the privilege of covering so many amazing female athletes. But we were especially wowed by the 18 young women profiled in our magazine and website. These go-getters aren’t waiting until they reach voting age to start making a difference.
Take this trio of 17-year-olds: Gymnast Jordyn Wieber is a favorite for the upcoming London Olympics, yet still finds time to maintain a 3.9 GPA at Dewitt (Mich.) High. Neha Gupta, a tennis player at Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, Pa.) High, founded a nonprofit organization called Empower Orphans that has raised $325,00 for neglected children in India and the United States. And Sami Stoner is legally blind but competes for Lexington (Ohio) High’s cross country team with her guide dog, Chloe.
“A lot more people my age and younger are volunteering,” says Jordan Sheridan, a pitcher for Christian Brothers (Syracuse, N.Y.) Academy, who knows whereof she speaks. Sheridan raises money with every strikeout for the Samarian Center, an inter-faith soup kitchen in her city -- and she has even inspired her school’s baseball team to join the campaign.