As the clock hits 2:05, students stand up, put on their backpacks, and scurry out the door to go home. It is a Friday afternoon and the weekend is finally upon them. Noisy crowds of students exit the doors of Woodland Regional High School to board the school buses or drive their own cars home. Those students are ready to relax after an intense week of school.
Not Joshua Powanda. He has more to do.
Powanda walks down to the sports hallway where he gets ready for tennis practice. He is the No. 1 seed for the Woodland boys tennis team and also one of the best players in the Naugatuck Valley League. His hard work and years of practice have shaped him to be the player he is today.
“I have been playing tennis for about seven years now,” said Powanda. “I love the sport so much because it is something that I can do with my friends and family. Plus, I enjoy training hard in order to better my skills.”
Powanda is the opposite of lazy. He is a straight-A senior, who also takes part in multiple extracurricular activities including student government, Best Buddies, World Language, Math, and National honor societies. Furthermore, Powanda proves to be a leader; he is the class president for the class of 2019 and one of the captains for the Woodland boys tennis team. However, it isn’t easy for him to do all these things at the same time.
“It’s definitely a little difficult to balance school with athletics,” Powanda revealed, “but being busy keeps me active.”
Powanda has an excellent mentality, which plays a big role in his performance during matches and practices. He believes that practice is the most important thing in being a good tennis player. Not only does Powanda practice during the usual after-school practices, but he also practices on his own time, when no one else does. This allows him to always do well during meets and competitions. Practice combined with determination allows him to best his opponents and make impressive comebacks when others might believe that all hope is lost.
“When my opponent has the lead, I just take it one point at a time and look for their weaknesses,” Powanda explained.
Powanda understands he is not perfect. He knows that success is not just an open door; there are many obstacles in the way, and one of those obstacles is failure.
“It definitely does not feel good to lose a match,” Powanda revealed, “but there is never any success without failure.”
Powanda is in for a learning experience along with the rest of the boys tennis team. His favorite part of being on the team is not the ability to showcase his skills and win matches; it is being able to spend time with his friends and to help each other improve. Powanda and the rest of the team started off strong with Powanda’s personal record being 5-0 and the team’s being 4-1.