Waite shines in classsroom and on court / Girls basketball

For Olivia Waite, point guard of the Oak Harbor High School girls basketball team, the weight on each side of the hyphen in student-athlete isn’t equal.

And, unlike many of her peers, her thumb is on the correct side of the scale — that of student.

Here’s the junior’s daily class schedule: first period, AP art; second, AP Spanish; third, AP literature/composition; fourth, pre-calculus; fifth, AP United States history; sixth, AP computer science principles.

While pre-calculus is the most rigorous of many students’ classes, Waite calls it her “time off.”

“A” student

AP (Advanced Place-ment) classes are the school’s most demanding. The AP program was created by the College Board, which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on AP tests.

Waite not only takes these classes, but she excels. She owns a 3.9 grade point average. The only “blemish” on her record is an “A-” in honors chemistry.

As a sophomore, she completed AP language/comp and AP world history, then scored a 4 and 5, respectively, on the final exams. The tests are graded 1-to-5, with 5 being highest.

“I really love to learn,” Waite said. “And, obviously, I really like to do what I love.”

Basketball isn’t her only extracurricular activity at Oak Harbor High School. She is president of the Pro-life Club, a member of the National Honor Society and a member of Link Crew. She is also heavily involved in activities at the First Reformed Church.

Support group

The encouragement and support of others — her parents, close friends, boyfriend James Keresey, head basketball coach Jon Atkins, youth group and church family — help her navigate through the activities and athletics and still shine in the classroom.

The key to success, Waite said, is this “good support base.”

“They have done wonders for me,” she added.

Her parents, Matt (pastor of the First Reformed Church) and Jen Waite, simply ask Olivia “to do her best,” she said.

“They aren’t strict parents who say, ‘You’ve got to get an A, you’ve got to get an A, you’ve got to get an A,’” Waite said. “They are very supportive and not critical.”

“Our expectations for all of our children are for them to do the very best they can to use the gifts they have to bring glory to God and benefit the community around them,” Matt Waite said. “My wife and I offer all our kids encouragement and expectation to always grow and improve, while also giving them lots of affirmation and unconditional love.

“Olivia has some real natural, God-given gifts that have nothing to do with how my wife and I parent her.”

Matt Waite said his daughter is “very bright and inquisitive” and “has an amazing eye for creative detail.”

He added that Olivia’s quest of perfection drives her to succeed but can also cause restlessness.

Talented artist

“I absolutely adore Olivia,” Matt Waite said. “I am proud of her for excelling in basketball, but she is probably most talented as an artist and writer.

“She experiences pain and doubt just like everybody, but she is self aware enough to try to put her deep feelings into beautiful pieces of art.”

Olivia Waite said her involvement in basketball has helped her in her approach to studying and vise versa.

“A couple of years ago I wanted to quit basketball because I got so nervous on the court,” Waite said. “It helped me to face my fears and adversities.

“Whenever you make a mistake in basketball, you have to pick yourself and move on.”

Her effort in academics taught her to work hard in athletics: “You can’t slack off on the court, just like you can’t slack off in the classroom.”

Waite is the oldest of five siblings, and she is joined on the high school basketball team by her freshman sister Grace.

“It’s nice having your family out there with you and not just in the stands,” Waite said.

Atkins called Waite “very coachable.”

“She always wants the right answer,” he said.

Waite doesn’t deny her mistakes, according to Atkins, but owns them and wants to correct them.

Waite is so analytical and self-critical — looking for flaws, according to Atkins, she “doesn’t always recognize when she is doing the right thing.”

Waite plans to take a few more AP classes next year and then hopes to major in graphic design in college, most likely at Western Washington University or California College of the Arts (San Francisco).

“I am so proud of Olivia’s fierce loyalty to her family and friends and her devotion to serving God,” Matt Waite said. “She is a blessing to us and all those around her.”