Cloudland’s Garant earns associates degree in high school; first Unicoi girls soccer player to sign collegiately

Published 7:33 am Monday, January 28, 2019

If there is one thing that Cloudland senior Spencer Lynn Campbell-Garant isn’t lacking that would be motivation.
This past Thursday, Spencer made a trip over to Unicoi County, a trek she has made many times over the past two years, to sign with Lees-McRae College where she will play soccer. Spencer, who co-oped with Unicoi to play soccer for the Lady Blue Devils since Cloudland doesn’t have a team, became the first Unicoi player to sign in girls soccer.
Spencer competed for Unicoi during her junior and senior seasons during which she was named to the All-District First Team both years.
“She has helped our program immensely,” said Unicoi head coach Bettina Chirica about Spencer. “It was difficult at first because she was trying to find a team to play on since Cloudland didn’t have a team. She tried some of the other schools, and they didn’t want to go through the paperwork and process. So we saw value in her and wanted to invest in her.
“It is beyond just her skills,” added Chirica. “Her skills are just phenomenal as a soccer player. She just helped with her character and helped by bringing who she was to the program. She was disciplined and came to every practice. She just really helped build the culture of our program.”
As if driving from Cloudland to Uncioi every day to practice wasn’t enough for a high school student to add to their long list of stuff to accomplish, Spencer wanted to do more. So through dual enrollment, Spencer became the first Cloudland student and possibly the first student in the Carter County School System to earn an associates degree while still in high school. She received her associate’s degree from Tusculum Unversity.
When asked what motivates her, Spencer said, “I just like working a lot. I like being busy.
“I wanted to get my core classes done before I entered real college,” continued Spencer. “I wanted to go straight into my nursing major and get my B.S.R.N as soon as I can. I want to have all the time to figure out what I truly want to do.”
Surprisingly, Spencer said playing soccer for Unicoi while fulfilling her academic goals weren’t that difficult.
“It wasn’t that hard,” said Spencer. “Traveling to Unicoi was difficult because I had robotics right when school ends. So I had to get in the car and go straight there. I was taking my college classes and I had five left by the time I was playing soccer. So it wasn’t too challenging.  You have to balance your time. I had like five calendars, but it was very rewarding at the end of it.”
Spencer went on to say that it meant a lot to her for Unicoi to open their doors and let her play soccer for them.
“I can’t express enough how much I appreciate it,” said Spencer. “I had played travel my whole life and never had a high school team. For them to open their doors to me is just so heartwarming, and I appreciate it so much. They are my family. It wasn’t just a team like travel ball, it was a family.”

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