Volleyball star switches high schools for senior year

Moving to a new school is always hard, especially in senior year

New town, new team, new school, and new friends—all during Keawe Parker’s senior year. 

Parker ‘22 transferred to Miramonte this year when her mom moved to Moraga in February 2021. Parker previously lived in Hercules and went to Pinole Valley High School, but she thought traveling back and forth between Moraga and Hercules this year would be too difficult. 

Moving to Miramonte wasn’t just about coming to a new school, it was assimilating into a whole new environment. Although Parker said her classes aren’t too difficult this year, it is still hard because she had a year and a half of distance learning prior to coming to Miramonte. Parker described the Miramonte staff and students as very welcoming and supportive, and she said that they made her transition even easier.

Parker started playing volleyball as an outside hitter for Pinole Valley’s junior varsity team her freshman year and part of her sophomore year. She moved up to varsity halfway through her sophomore season. Coming to Miramonte, she knew the volleyball program was competitive and of a higher caliber than her previous team.

“I wasn’t sure I’d make the team, but I decided to show up to tryouts anyway. I’ve been playing volleyball for four years and I told myself I wasn’t finished,” Parker said.

Initially, Parker was unsure about joining her senior year. However, Parker performed excellently in tryouts and joined the program that is now aiming for an North Coast Section (NCS) Championship. She now plays right side and middle hitter, where she believes she is stronger than she was in her original position.

“Keawe definitely deserved to make the team. She’s so talented and is a great addition,” outside hitter Amber Chu ‘23 said.

Moving to a new school is always hard, especially in senior year. However, Parker attributes volleyball to helping her meet new friends and becoming more involved in the community.

“Everyone on the team is so amazing and I honestly feel like I’d isolate myself from everyone if I didn’t play volleyball this year. Being a part of the team makes me feel more secure and it reminded me that I could make friends again,” Parker said.

The Miramonte volleyball team prides itself on being an inclusive community by bringing players together through spirit days, team bonding events, and fun practices. Participating in all of these events allowed Parker to become close with the team and build strong friendships early in the school year. By the first week of school, Parker already had plenty of friends to talk to.

Parker says Miramonte’s varsity volleyball team is much stronger than Pinole Valley’s team, which presents both opportunities and challenges. Something that really stood out to Parker

was how well the team members communicate and encourage other teammates on and off the court.

“Everyone on the team is so passionate about the sport, and also very positive. They make me feel like I’m really good at volleyball, even when I don’t feel very confident in myself.” Parker said.

“I love having Keawe on the team. She brings a super positive attitude and always hypes everyone up on the team,” girls varsity volleyball captain Casey Roy ‘22 said.

It’s the second set of Miramonte’s first league game against Alhambra High School. Parker waited on the sideline, antsy to see if she would  go in this set. Suddenly, the right side must sub in, and the coach pointed to her. The  team cheered with excitement as Parker took her first official step onto the court as a Matador.