Known for her powerful bat and her ability to welcome new players to the team, Ariana Whatley ’20 was an integral part of the GPS softball team throughout her middle and upper school years. But the diamond was not the only place she excelled. In addition to a tough softball schedule, Whatley carried an impressive academic load and served as a member of Beta Club, Spanish Honor Society, and GPS Ambassadors. Today, Whatley is a sports medicine major at Howard University, where she signed to play softball last spring. Her first season as a Bison starts later this month!
Q. How did you choose Howard? Did you always know you wanted to play sports in college?
A. Having been born into a family of athletes, I knew from an early age that not only did I want to play my sport at the highest level, but I also wanted my academic studies to follow a similar path. During my early high school years, I spent my weekends traveling to camps and showcase tournaments in the pursuit of finding a school that would allow me to pursue that goal. About halfway through my junior year, I came into contact with Coach Tyson and decided that Howard was my future home. It was hands down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m so grateful to be in the position I am today!
Q. What was your favorite tradition at GPS? Why?
A. My favorite tradition at GPS was giving a Chapel Talk. Having always had a secret love for writing, I was so excited to be given free rein over what I wanted to talk about to my peers. I also love the overwhelming support that’s given to each senior on the day of her talk. In my seven years at GPS, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more loved and encouraged than I did that day.
Q. Do you stay in touch with your classmates? What impact have they had on your life?
A. I stay in touch with quite a few of my classmates! Despite the physical distance during the school year, those I’ve kept in contact with never fail to lift me up when I need it and have had such a positive influence in my life.
Q. What is a GPS girl to you?
A. To me, a GPS girl is someone who never backs down from a challenge. She is not defined by her grades or extracurriculars, and she is not afraid to take risks or try new things.
Q. Can you point to anything that GPS did to prepare you for your future?
A. One of the most significant skills GPS instilled in me was time management. My teachers and coaches constantly stressed the importance of managing my work on top of athletics, and I’m so grateful they did. Now as a Division I athlete, I see the benefits of this paying off in my packed daily schedule.