CHARACTER COUNTS NOMINATIONS

Heritage Academy’s Abby Dirks works hard to be a good example for all

Nov 21, 2023, 5:00 AM

Heritage Academy Maricopa (HAMaricopa/Athletics)...

Heritage Academy Maricopa (HAMaricopa/Athletics)

(HAMaricopa/Athletics)

Abby Dirks knows that her peers look to her as an example, which is a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly. 

As a senior at Heritage Academy Maricopa, she understands the big picture and her place in it, whether it’s modeling with her own hard work or encouraging others who may not have the same understanding.

Dirks plays volleyball at Heritage and she brings her “next play” mentality with her to the court. Nothing gets to her, and if a teammate is struggling, she’s quick to pick them up and make sure they’re all together.

She also understands that as a varsity athlete, her younger classmates look up to her, so she’s always kind with them in an effort to see their growth. This shows up in a volleyball class at Heritage where many of the older players play alongside varsity players.

It also carries over to her time coaching at her local parks and recreation youth volleyball program, where she volunteers her own time as service hours, coaching younger kids and helping them find the love for the game she already has.

“I found such a deep love for volleyball through the parks and rec in Maricopa, and I want other girls to experience that,” she said.

Dirks maintains a 4.0 GPA on top of her standing as a varsity athlete, student body president and coach, tutoring younger kids as well. 

“Sometimes, but I don’t think of it as hard when I enjoy doing what I do,” Dirks said. “Granted, I plan my day almost to a tee just to make sure I can do my school work and I can study and what not, but when it’s something I enjoy doing, I don’t think of it as hard.”

In addition to her parks and rec volunteering, Dirks also goes to elementary classes to read with kids, as well as sharing her love for science and math with them.

Her coaches appreciate her work ethic and ability to always follow rules, even ones she doesn’t like, such as keeping her jersey tucked in. She always stays mindful of advice they give during games so she can adjust on the fly.

Heritage went 18-2 in her senior season, reaching the Division II state championship at Desert Financial Arena. She raved about the experience, saying “it’s an amazing feeling knowing that you have accomplished so much just to get there.”

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