EDISON, NJ -- Sydney Johnson of Piscataway felt humbled, honored and proud to represent The Wardlaw+Hartridge School of Edison at the annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Seton Hall University earlier this month. The W+H senior was among those celebrated at an event that recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of scholastic and collegiate female athletes from New Jersey.
“I was extremely honored to receive the school’s nomination to attend the event, as I am only one out of a number of extremely dedicated senior female athletes,” Sydney said. “Knowing that I was chosen to represent such an amazing group of young female athletes filled me with an immense amount of school pride and pride for all that we have accomplished.”
Sydney, who will attend Princeton University in the fall, has become a volleyball standout during her scholastic athletic career. She’s also a perennial fixture on the school’s honor roll with distinction and extremely active in extracurricular clubs.
“Sydney’s dedication to her sport has been a key to our team's success the past four years. It has also brought her well-deserved recognition from our opponent's volleyball coaches, who have repeatedly chosen her for All-Division, All-Conference and All-Prep honors,” W+H athletic director Karl Miran said. “She plays the sport at a high level 12 months a year with her club team against some of the best teams in the country. When she puts on the Ram uniform, she brings the intensity of that national level, combining it with a dedication to all her teammates.”
Sydney credits her parents for instilling a strong set of values and solid character traits. She has worked hard to follow their guidance and set a good example, both on and off the court.
“My parents have always told me that two of the most important aspects in life are how you treat others and the way that you present yourself. I believe that my sportsmanship, humble attitude and competitive nature coupled with my desire to better the skills and confidence of my teammates and support each and every one of my fellow athletes and classmates over the past four years led me to this honor,” she said.
Sharing the day with her mother, Karen, made it all the more special for Sydney. It has been a challenging and emotional senior year for Sydney, whose father, Lee, passed away in December. Her mother has been her rock and this day provided another wonderful bonding opportunity for two people still grieving after a tremendous loss.
“She is my number one fan and my support in the toughest of times. I love her with all my heart, and I’m glad that the school provided the opportunity for her to be by my side,” Sydney said.
Sydney, a true role model for students in all divisions at W+H, epitomizes the spirit of young athletes who are willing to step out of their comfort zone. She encourages girls of all ages to explore new passions.
“To any girl who is looking to play a sport – especially as a means to try something new – go for it. In the fifth grade, I took a leap of faith and decided to play volleyball because it seemed ‘doable’ and, eight years later, I still find myself traveling across the country to play in tournaments of all sizes. Playing a sport and being a part of a team has truly changed my life for the better, and I wish for everyone to feel that same experience.”