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Clarendon College awards scholarship to DHS grad

Posted by: tdt -

By Robin Scott

With near record speed, an offer was made to Dalhart High School class of 2009 graduate Alexa Welch to play basketball for Clarendon College.  The five-foot six-inch 18-year-old student signed with the college on May 27th, just two days before graduation.  She’ll join the Lady Bulldogs ‘Dawgs’ team for the 2009/2010 school year.

    Alexa was involved in many activities while at DHS.  In her freshman year, she met Coach Dustin Klafka, who she stated is someone she will miss a great deal now that she has graduated.  Coach Klafka was an influence on Alexa because of his coaching style.  She stated, “As a basketball player, it was nice to have a coach look at me for my individual talent and skill and use those rather than to force me into something else.  That’s how he is.”  Coach Klaska will coach the girl’s team again in the 2009/10 school year.

As a member of a large extended family, Alexa has support, as she gets ready to leave home for the first time and move to Clarendon.  Her mother, Toni Kuster Smith, and stepfather, Michael Smith, live in Hartley with her three younger brothers Hayden, age 13; Aaron, age 12; and Collin, age 7.    Alexa’s father, Kenny Welch, and her step mother, Kelly, reside in Dalhart with her 4-year-old younger sister, Kassie, step sisters, Faustina, age 15 and Alisia, age 11 and step brother Eli, age 6.  Her grandmother Dorothy Kuster also lives in Dalhart. 

According to Alexa, “My mom was a big influence on me doing well in school.”  Her mother works for Glenn Cummings Real Estate, having started as a secretary, but earning her real estate agent’s license about a month ago.  Alexa attended school in Hartley from grades Kindergarten through 8th, and then she transferred to Dalhart High School.  Toni and Michael Smith commented, “We are just so proud of all that Alexa has accomplished, both academically and athletically, and we are really excited to see her continue her basketball career at Clarendon.  She’s been through some rough patches along the way, but she continues to persevere.  We couldn’t ask for a better kid.  She’s been such a blessing to family and friends, and we’re looking forward to the blessings she will bring to others along her new path.”

Alexa will move to Clarendon in late August for the 2009/2010 school year, and she expects to begin basketball practice the week after.  She doesn’t know what classes she’ll be taking this fall yet, but she hopes to study psychology and would like to transfer to Wayland Baptist University in Plainview after finishing at Clarendon.  She stated that she is glad she’ll be close to home and has to admit her mom was right.  She stated that she would never move to Clarendon because she thought the school was too small and the town too, but her mom kept after her to at least go visit the campus.  She did that on the Monday before graduating from high school and stated, “I told my mom I was absolutely not going to Clarendon.  I thought it was too small and too close to home, then I visited the school and I really liked it.  My mom really encouraged me to just go look at the school; and look at me now.”   

Head Coach Rusty Kennedy and Assistant Coach Chris Marks from Clarendon College have met with Alexa once.  She’s already excited about moving and starting school and stated, “I’m ready to move right now, but of course I’ll have to wait.”   She had also considered going to Snyder, Texas and to a school in Nebraska.  She noted, “I’m really glad I’ll be close to home.”

At DHS, Alexa not only played basketball, but volleyball and golf.  She competed at UIL in editorial writing where she placed third at Randall High School in Amarillo.  She noted, “My English teacher, Ms. Childress, asked me if I wanted to compete in editorial writing and I said yes.  I love writing, especially writing editorials.”  She also noted that DHS had a school newspaper when she was a freshman, but that it’s no longer available. 

Alexa is a bit unusual for a teen, as she doesn’t have text messaging.  She stated, “I’m probably the only one that doesn’t have it, but really I like to hang out with my family and friends when I can.”  Her best friend is fellow athlete Callie Schneiderjan.  She noted that she’s glad that she and Callie will still be near one another after college begins, with Callie attending WT in Canyon. 

Until school begins in the fall, Alexa will be working at Dalhart Federal Savings & Loan Association as a teller.  She just began working for DFS&L and commented, “Today was my first day there, and it was very scary.  There is a lot to know and I wasn’t quite prepared, but I think it will be great in a few weeks.”

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