Yasmine Xantos, Class of 2014
- Tell me a little bit about your background (childhood, where you come from, interests, when did you start playing tennis, when did you start competing)
I am Yasmine Xantos, a left-handed tennis player from the Gold Coast, Australia, but I have been studying in the USA from grade 9 to date. My passion in life is tennis; I have been playing since I was a little girl and my ultimate dream was always to become a professional. Tennis is a tough sport which requires dedication, patience, organization, and work ethic just to name a few of the traits. I have been training to become the best player I can be from a young age, persisting onward no matter what challenges faced me, and I never gave up, especially when times got tough. At 14 years old, I left Australia to come to the IMG Bollietari Academy to pursue my tennis dream and take it further down its path.
- Why did you become interested in attending an online school and how did you find out about UMGA?
I became interested in attending an online school as during my 11th and 12th year of high school I had a hectic schedule that consisted of me traveling around Europe and competing in world junior tournaments to better my ranking. These two years were the toughest of my life as I was constantly on the road competing and trying to become the best tennis player I could be. I was trying my best to achieve a high ranking in order to earn a tennis scholarship to a good division 1 school. I found out about UMGA through extensive research. I needed a fully-accredited school that would still allow me to travel and compete in tennis while keeping academically sound, eligible, and prepared for university. UMGA fit these categories.
- What are some of the reasons that made you think UMGA would be a good fit for you? Was there one reason that particularly stood out?
The reason that UMGA was the perfect fit for me was the school’s flexibility. I was able to train morning and afternoon while completing my studies mainly at night and over the weekends.
- Tell me a little bit about your experience at UMGA. Are teachers helpful and available? Are the classes well-designed and academically challenging? Do you feel UMGA has prepared you for college?
I had excellent experiences at UMGA; all of my teachers were extremely helpful, kind, understanding, and available. For example, I do not recommend this, but one time I was 6 weeks behind pace because I had been traveling parts of Europe where I didn’t have access to WiFi and was unable to complete my work. Once I was back in the USA, I met with all of my teachers and we devised a plan. All of them were understanding and worked really hard to get me back on pace and completing the work. It was truly remarkable and inspiring. All the classes are well designed and the course work was challenging at times, but I felt as though UMGA did prepare me for college, especially the AP classes that I took.
- During your high school career, which teacher influenced you the most?
During my high school career, there were three teachers that greatly influenced me. They were Ms. Pavlakos, Ms. Panerali, and Ms. Taylor. All three teachers challenged me to do my best.
- What class in high school, do you feel, has best prepared you for your future?
I believe all the classes prepared me but I really enjoyed the AP English classes, literature and language. Though both were extremely time consuming and challenging, the skill sets I acquired in those classes have stayed by me and greatly help me now in my college classes. They significantly improved my speech from the way I write and speak to the vocabulary I now use.
- What did you enjoy the most? The least? Was there anything that you’ve missed about the traditional high school setting?
I really enjoyed my UMGA experience, especially the end of year ceremony as well as that shark science trip that we were able to go on two years ago! That trip was an awesome experience, one that I will never forget. Yes, I believe you do miss a little not having a traditional classroom, but UMGA was still able to give me a great community and reach my needs as a student.
- What are some of the challenges that you faced as an online student ? How did you overcome them?
The challenge I sometimes faced being an online student was motivation to complete the work. But the beauty of it was having a pre-made schedule giving you the opportunity to work ahead and know exactly where you were at in the course. Everything was in the student’s control.
- Tell me a little bit about your accomplishments. What two or three accomplishments/honors have given you the most satisfaction? Why?
Looking back, I am proud that I kept up my schooling and worked hard to maintain good grades, keeping my doors of opportunity wide open. There were many times when I just wanted to put all my time and effort into tennis but luckily I listened to my mum and kept up my schooling, otherwise even though it proved extremely challenging at times, I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity to play for a division 1 college tennis team. UMGA helped make this happen. Two great honors that were most satisfying were being selected in the National Honors Society and also receiving an English Award.
- What are your plans after High School?
I am currently studying at Northern Kentucky University on a tennis scholarship; it is my second semester here, and I love it. I hope to continue to improve my tennis while studying as a student athlete up here at NKU. Right now I believe I would like to earn a bachelor’s degree and then go back to school to earn a master’s, and who knows what the future holds if I am able to step up my tennis game? I may even try to play the pro circuit because it has always been my dream.
- Where do you envision yourself five years from now?
I envision myself completing my master’s degree or trying my luck on the pro circuit.
- What is the most important value in your life and why? Explain.
The most important value in my life would be my family, they are the ones that have always been there for me and the ones that will be by my side no matter what. I could not have become the person I am today and received all these amazing opportunities so far without their help and support. Family comes first.
- Who would you recommend this program to and why?
Anyone! It is a great school that will meet anyone’s needs. I especially recommend it to athletes.