UPDATE: Tonight’s soccer game vs. Florence mentioned in this article has been cancelled.
“We never really started winning until my 10th grade year,” Sh’Carla says then pauses. “That year we won some non-district games. Then when I was in the 11th grade we won a couple of district games, but now,” she smiles. “Now we’re a better team.”
The QHS Senior Maid, HOSA treasurer, Cheerleader, Student Council & Beta Club Member, is talking about her role on the 2021 Panther Soccer Team. “I started playing soccer in the 8th grade. Now it’s the teamwork. We try to plan stuff. We will send workouts to each other. We have better communication on the field now. If it’s a tough team – like the one we’re fixin’ to play – we have to get on the field and get after the ball. We have to play as if we want it.”
Panthers play at home against Florence tonight.
The mindset Sh’Carla has as an athlete in Panther Stadium is carried into the classrooms of both Quitman High School and the Clarke County Career & Technology Center. When she graduates in May of this year she will be holding a traditional diploma and a career and technical completer certificate as well as nine college credit hours and work experience on her way to Meridian Community College.
“There,” she explains, “I’m getting my associate of applied science degree in the radiologic technology program. I’ll probably continue my part-time job and maybe even get another one. After that I’ll be at Hinds Community College to specialize in ultrasound technology. I can specialize in just the veins. The highest paid technician is in the vascular area.”
“I’ve been a cheerleader for two years, and I’m the one of my friends to make everybody laugh. I like being around the kids when we do fun things. I like to make the kids smile. They love it, and I like that. I do a little babysitting and she plays with my pom-poms all the time.”
One can’t help but refer to the district’s most recent community read of Jon Gordon and Damon West’s The Coffee Bean and The Coffee Bean for Kids when seeing the effect Sh’Carla has on those around her.
The Quitman High School senior is enjoying the part-time job she landed five months ago.
“I like people. We’re trained to be positive, and I work 30 hours a week on average. Sometimes I pick up extra shifts, and sometimes they schedule me for more.”
Her employer is aware of tonight’s soccer game against Florence. Head Coach Hannah Harlan says of it and her senior starter, “We’re 2-2 in district play. Florence is a dynamite team, but there’s no team that we can’t compete with. Sh’Carla (Shaquille O’Neil) is an awesome athlete. She always has a smile on her face, has the best attitude and is the true definition of a team player. The Lady Panthers are the grittiest team at Quitman High School. These girls give 100% to the very last whistle.”
For those students wanting to be described as someone giving 100% to the very last whistle, always with a smile, a great attitude and a mindset of what Sh’Carla describes here, she does have some advice,
“Always stay up on your work. Do it ahead of time so you’ll have plenty of time to join activities. That’ll give you more opportunity to get noticed, meet people and go places.”