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Variety of options makes Calvin right fit
By Nate Triezenberg

Elaine SchnabelAll of the puzzle pieces seemed to fit together at Calvin for Elaine Schnabel. Opportunities in soccer, orchestra and Japanese came together in the right way for the senior who played midfield for the Knights women’s soccer team.

“For me, it wasn’t just about soccer or academics, both were important to me. I took Japanese in high school and wanted to continue with it in college, and Calvin offered the program, along with a great soccer program and an orchestra; it just seemed like the right place for me,” said Schnabel, of Valparaiso, Ind. Along with the scholastic and athletic variables contributing to her interest in Calvin, the strong Christian tradition helped sway Schnabel’s choice to come to Calvin.

“Going to a Christian school was something that I really wanted. After being here for four years I’m so happy for having the girls I had on my teams. Before I came to Calvin I expected people to be superficial and just focus on the soccer aspect, but when I played for Calvin, the girls really invested not only in their own goals but in the team aspect and really cared for each other.”

The care that Schnabel talked about was seen not only off the field but also on it.

“The girls I played with showed what it meant to be Christians. We always knew the other girls cared about each other, but along with that, we all knew we were pulling together to win. That was something that was different as well; I wasn’t used to people I played with being as competitive as I am but the girls I played with always challenged me to be better. I think people saw that in the success our team enjoyed because of our hard work.”

Although Schnabel did not always steal the headlines with flash, she often was one of the players keeping play alive with the use of strong will and aggressiveness.

“Whenever I placed her on the field I knew that she would not only manage her space, but she also was able to assist in managing everyone’s space immediately around her….” said coach Mark Recker.“She was a player who absolutely never quit. No matter where we were in the game, she always brought a competitive fire to the field combined with an understanding of her responsibility.”

Both on the field and off, Schnabel worked with a vigorous attitude. She has been a regular member of Calvin’s Dean’s list, a three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, a 2009 member of the ESPN Academic All-District second team, and a 2010 member of the ESPN Academic All-District team.

She also helps to organize Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing. “It’s an opportunity that’s very profitable…It gives a person a chance to talk to writers and publishers close-up and find out what they are really like. I wasn’t able to be as involved as I would have liked because of my other commitments, but even the small amount I was able to help, it was a fantastic experience.”

The English department proved to be something that Schnabel couldn’t seem to get away from as she was also an English major, while holding a double minor in both Japanese and writing. Looking to the future, her minor in Japanese may help in future vocational endeavors.

“I’ve done some volunteer work before with ESL and along those lines I just applied for the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program, which teaches English to individuals in Japan. Either way, I’d love to travel, if not Japan, then possibly Europe. At this point I’m just trusting that God has my plan set in place, and that He has it all under control.