Clayton Younger ’23 (top) going out on his fishing boat in the early morning. (Courtesy of Clayton Younger '23)
Clayton Younger ’23 (top) going out on his fishing boat in the early morning.

Courtesy of Clayton Younger '23

Juggling Acts

Three ultra-busy RE students talk about what it’s like to balance their passions with school

June 6, 2023

Despite what you may think, you’re not the busiest person at Ransom Everglades. They are.   

High school can be a hectic and demanding time for many students, with classes, extracurricular activities, and social obligations vying for their time and attention. There are some students, however, who manage to balance the challenges of RE alongside everything from Junior Olympic swimming to fly-fishing. 

The Equestrian 

Mia Albelo ’23 is a competitive equestrian show jumper based in Wellington, FL. She competes nearly every weekend during the year and practices during the week. To pursue her passion for equestrian show jumping, Mia has had to miss significant amounts of school for competitions. “During the months of January through March, the Wellington Equestrian Festival (WEF) takes place and is the largest and most competitive equestrian show jumping circuit in the country for my horse, MHS Cardenta, and me.” 

 “During these months, I am absent on Fridays for competition. Ransom has been very understanding and accommodating by granting these as excused absences as long as I keep my grades up, stay communicating with my teachers, and do not fall behind on material and assessments,” she added. 

Competing in show jumping circuits while keeping up with a rigorous academic schedule at RE has presented many challenges. “For example, last year I qualified as one of the top-30 Junior riders in the country for the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Championship in Devon, PA,” she said. “However, the competition coincided with AP week, and I made the difficult decision to withdraw my acceptance to the championship in order to take my five AP exams in my junior year of high school.”  

Why does she do it? Simple: “because I have a passion for the sport. I have been riding since I was 6 years old, and after 12 years of equestrian show jumping, I have only grown to love the sport more.”  

But Albelo also has lofty goals that reach far beyond RE. “My goal is to continue riding throughout my life and one day compete at the World Equestrian Games and the Olympic Games. However, I also recognize the importance of education, and I’m excited to continue my studies at Cornell the next four years. I am eternally grateful for Ransom that has allowed me to chase both my Olympic and Ivy League dreams,” she said. 

The Swimmer 

Nohan Gomez ’25 is a high-performance swimmer and holder of a Florida Gold Coast Record whose unique schedule sets him apart from his peers.  

Gomez’s rigorous training schedule leaves little time for anything else. “My day on Monday starts at 4:50am, when I wake up and drive to morning practice, which goes from 5:30-7 am,” he said. “Then I have another session of practice from 5:45pm-8:00pm.”  

With such a busy schedule, Gomez finds himself making the most of every spare moment. “I usually do homework or catch up on lost sleep in those hours between 3:30 and 5:30 in the afternoon,” he added. “I do homework during this time because I get home at 8:45ish every day, and all I really want to do is eat and go to bed.” He then wraps up the week with a three-hour practice on Saturday morning. 

Gomez wasn’t always a swimmer. “When we [his father and himself] were first trying to choose a sport for me, my dad instantly said soccer. Like a good Latin American, he wanted his son to play soccer. However, we soon discovered that I had two left feet and ran like duck.”  

After basketball ended similarly, Nohan and his father remembered their fond memories of swimming in their pool back home. “It was always a struggle to get me out of the pool because I loved the water, so my dad put me in a learn-to-swim camp, and the rest is history.” 

Nohan’s motivation is clear: his father. “Back home, my dad held a PhD and a master’s degree, but the moment that he stepped foot in the United States, his degrees become invalid because they came from a developing country. My dad was the first member of my family to attend college and graduate, so they symbolize an accomplishment that changed an entire generation of our family. That’s the sacrifice my dad had to make; he gave up a nice stable life in exchange for me to have better opportunities than the ones offered to him.”  

“Nobody wants to get in a freezing cold pool at 5am in the morning,” he admitted. “But the reason why I do it is because I know how privileged I am to be able to train in one of the best aquatic facilities in the world, and I won’t let my dad’s sacrifice go to waste.” 

The Fisherman 

Clayton Younger ‘23 is an avid competitive fisherman whose love of the sport is evident in his daily routine. Rising at the early hour of 5:00am, he begins his day by preparing breakfast before heading to the boat. Arriving before others, Younger ensures that everything is ready for the morning excursion. “I organize and prepare all the essential fishing gear, inspecting rods, reels, and lines, stocking the tackle box, arranging safety equipment, setting up navigation and tidying up the boat’s deck and storage compartments,” he said. 

“We’ll pick up bait in the morning and go out and fly kites for sailfish,” he explained. “I fish probably three times a week and have fished the major tournaments for four years. “The tournament atmosphere is charged with excitement and a strong sense of camaraderie as we compete in different categories, such as species-specific contests or overall weight competitions.” 

Upon returning to the dock, Younger efficiently cleans up and readies himself for the full school day that lies ahead. However, he openly acknowledges that his pursuit of fishing has required him to make considerable sacrifices. Balancing time with friends, managing academic responsibilities, and dedicating himself to his fishing endeavors have all demanded unwavering commitment from Younger.  

About the Contributor
Ian Fox '24, Executive News Editor

Ian Fox '24, a senior at Ransom Everglades School, is the executive news editor for the Catalyst. He's involved in Speech and Debate, Model UN, and TEDx...

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