The Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy is home to many junior golfers from all over the world. These young golfers come to the academy in hopes of improving their golf game and furthering their chance of playing collegiate golf. The transition to an American lifestyle, more specifically the academy lifestyle, is different for each student. For full time student, Angel Guerra, the academy lifestyle was easy to adapt to, due to the similarities of his lifestyle at home, in Venezuela. Angel is the youngest of six children, so he is “used to a full house,” and found comfort in the family atmosphere that the academy offers.
Angel’s first visit to the academy was for summer camp in 2015, and he returned as a full time student the following year. As a full time student at GNCGA, he spends his mornings doing the typical classwork of a highschool student with his teacher, Mrs. Vicki , and his afternoons are spent improving his golf game with his coach, Eddie Overstreet.
“I knew that I wanted to attend the academy as a full time student during my summer camp visit, but I was only 12 and had to wait until I was in highschool,”said Guerra.
Although the full time students’ main reason to attend the academy is to play golf, they all receive a phenomenal education from Risen Christ Christian Academy and K12 International. The students do online schooling with the assistance of their learning coach, Vicki Lynch. The online courses allow the students to have a more flexible school schedule that they can arrange around their tournaments and golf obligations.
“If you fall behind in school, in Venezuela, the teachers tell you that you aren’t good enough to make it, but here, Mrs. Vicki always tries to help and encourage me,” said Guerra. “ I’m occasionally lazy when it comes to my schoolwork and there are days that I do not want to do anything, but Mrs. Vicki motivates me to do better.”
Being at the academy has taught Guerra a lot of valuable skills that you can’t learn in a traditional classroom. One of the most important skills is that you need to organize and plan, without good grades in school, you can not play golf in college.
“ He’s learned more responsibility, independence, and self confidence since being at the academy ,” said classmate and friend, Maria Arenas.
Guerra and Arenas met each other playing golf in Villahermosa, Mexico in 2012, long before the two attended the academy.
“Angel is the type of person you want to be around,” said Arenas.” He just puts happiness and positivity into the atmosphere, which is what makes him such a good friend and teammate. He is always so supportive and a teammate that most of us go to for advice.”
Like Arenas, Angel’s coach, Eddie Overstreet has had the opportunity to see Angel’s growth since their first meeting in 2015.
“Angel has grown both physically and mentally since we met,” said Overstreet. “ He came to us as a kid who acted their age but has grown to become a more disciplined young adult. He has the ability to complete tasks and works hard until they’re perfect. With time he’s become much more mature and focused. However, he has also physically grown into his body and much more aware of himself, which has begun to show in his performance.”
Although Guerra is only a sophomore, he has goals of a collegiate athletic career and hopefully a professional one to follow. Goals that he has the ability accomplish, if he continues to keep his strong work ethic, upbeat personality and positive mindset.