When Jessica Givens was a freshman, she received inspiring advice from a senior teammate Aryanna Arce after volleyball practice.
“Wow your passing is really nice,” Arce said. “You could get money for that.”
Givens took the words to heart, focused on improving each year, and as a senior the Colonial Christian libero received a $12,000 scholarship to attend Florida College, which she happily accepted.
“I never really knew that I could get here, I just knew that I had the drive for it,” Givens said. “It wasn’t really about signing. It was just about every year constantly getting better and, constantly wanting to perfect myself just because I love the sport so much.”
Givens is the first known athlete from Colonial Christian to go on to play in college. The school held a ceremony for her with her mother, grandfather, coaches, and classmates in attendance. She is hoping to set a trend for future Patriots.
“It means a lot that I’m the first person for them to do this event for,” Givens said. “I know there’s a girl in the junior class who wants to do it too and it gives me a lot of joy.”
Colonial Christian coach Lou Martinez raved about Givens.
“Jessica’s passion for the sport is one of her biggest assets,” Martinez said. “She has a desire to continue to get better and better and better every single practice. She is a team player, one of the leaders on the team, and she’s just someone I had a pleasure of coaching. You can tell she wanted to go to the next step.”
Florida College, located in Temple Terrace near Tampa, competes at the NAIA level.
“I went up to Temple Terrace and the first thing they do in the morning is they have chapel service,” Givens said. “I remember sitting in the back with my mom and (Florida College coach) Carry Brown and they did morning worship. It was so beautiful because they’re known for their choir and you just heard all of the voices from all around the chapel. It was so pretty and I remember thinking of how beautiful it was and that I wanted to go there.”
Givens has prided herself on improving each year, earning most improved player honors until being named team MVP. She is hoping to have the same success in college.
“That progress impacted me and I just wanted to keep doing it and pushing myself,” Givens said. “I want to be the most improved on the team and just push.”