Coast plus a year: Stars learn reality’s ropes

Plans change as life happens, but these 2011 CUHS grads say the school did well for them

August 23, 2012 

Three former Coast Union student

athletes — Ashley Lorenz, Harper Resewher and Zachary Brooke —graduated in 2011 and have had a full year out in that proverbial real world. Their updated stories reflect changes, adjustments, and positive paths heading into their futures.

Ashley Lorenz

After Ashley Lorenz made a profoundly positive impression on Coast Union academically and athletically — graduating in 2011 as salutatorian (second in her class, with one “B” in four years) and excelling in

volleyball and basketball— she set off envisioning an engineering career connected to the global green movement at Canada’s Queens University.

On Monday, Aug. 20, she sat down with a reporter, explaining why she switched focus from environmental engineering to mining engineering.

Mining engineering? How does that relate to green strategies?

“There is a movement to make mining greener,” Lorenz explained. “To clean up the problems we already have with mining and develop new approaches that do less harm to the environment.

“We’re taught how to design a mine from top to bottom; how to add environmental processes to the mining. Pretty much everything in your cell phone, everything in your computer has metals that we get from mines.”

Lorenz — who played volleyball for three years and was part of the CIF Champion Lady Broncos basketball team in 2009, and was captain and MVP her junior and senior years —was asked if the dynamics she experienced at Coast Union helped her in her first year of engineering training.

“Definitely learning to handle the pressure helped me. At Coast I did sports, I did clubs, I was in drama for a while, I did AP classes. So having that pressure on me all the time really helped me when I got to engineering because my first semester I had over a 30-hour week of classes.”

Among the classes Lorenz enjoyed the most her freshman year at Queens was helping build a solar pop can heater for a citizen in the community. That individual needed to be able to heat his greenhouse in the winter so he could continue raising crops — albeit he did not want to use fossil fuels. Hence, Lorenz and classmates built the heater and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the “green” results from hands-on engineering.

Harper Resewher

Harper Resewher knew throughout his high school career that he wanted to join the military. Today, he’s training in upstate New York as a “Fire Support Specialist” with the 10th Mountain Division on the sprawling 25-square-mile Fort Drum.

He’s not training in fire-fighting. He’s involved with the Army module that serves as “the eyes of the artillery.” In short, Resewher is learning to scrutinize battlefield action and having the skills to know when to call in support for troops on the front lines and in firefights with enemy combatants.

“We can call in close air support,” Resewher explained in a phone interview earlier this week. “We can call in helicopters, naval gunships, artillery and ground troops if needed.”

Resewher, who played tennis his freshman year, soccer his senior year, baseball his junior year, and football (fullback and defense lineman) in his junior and senior years at Coast Union — commenting that “I loved football. I wished I’d played football all four years” — said the training he’s going through in the Army is “enjoyable.”

Why? “It’s a job that calls for intelligence. It’s knowing math, learning map reading … using algebraic equations.” It’s a pivotal support component for the infantry.

What is Resewher’s goal when he gets out in three years? He doesn’t have a specific plan other than to be reunited with his girlfriend, also a 2011 graduate, who is now attending St. Mary’s College.

He credits Coast Union with helping him grow scholastically and socially, preparing him for what he is doing now. And what is the driving motive behind his commitment to serve in the Army? Defending democracy? “It’s to defend the people in our democracy,” he answered.

Zach Brooke

While still in high school, Zach Brooke learned the hard way how life can flow along beautifully and according to plan one moment and in the next fleeting seconds it can all come crashing down. This reporter witnessed Brooke’s final run as part of a extraordinarily fleet-footed tandem with Sam Rivera.

The Broncos were having an outstanding offensive game at Avenal High School on Sept. 17, 2010. In fact Brooke had gained 164 yards in 11 carries when he suffered a catastrophic knee injury.

Okay, it’s just sports, but when you have the kind of speed, strength and talent that Brooke had shown with the Broncos, it changed his life because he had California colleges interested in offering him an opportunity to play collegiate football, one of his dreams.

Brooke is in Portland, Ore., and will attend Portland Community College in September. Last year he attended Pacific University in California but was unable to play football because he knee still hadn’t fully healed.

Meantime he pushes forward with a goal to enter the nursing profession. Once he receives his Associate Degree at Portland he plans to attend Oregon Health Service University.

“I had been thinking about being a physical therapist or going into being a paramedic, but I learned from my girlfriend’s mom — who works in a hospital — that there is a greater demand for male nurses. And it’s better pay.”

“The baby boomers will need a lot of nurses,” he added, with a not-very-well muffled chuckle. The advice Brooke would give to today’s Coast Union senior contemplating what he or she will do in the future?

Keep all options open because what you think you’ll be doing now could change in a heartbeat. That’s solid advice, notwithstanding one’s age or dreams.

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