By Melica Allen
HALEYVILLE - Ana Aaron is a focused young lady. The Haleyville High School senior signed a softball scholarship with Marion Military Institute Monday, Dec. 2, during a ceremony held in the high school library. She will be on the pitching staff.
Ana decided her sophomore year she wanted to go to MMI. She will go in as a civilian with a criminal justice major, but plans to enter the military upon getting her degree. She wants to serve with the military police. When she leaves the military, Ana plans to work as a crime scene investigator.
Ana has been playing sports since her park and recreation days and developing her pitching skills. As a high school student, she has played basketball, volleyball, cross country and softball.
“I love the environment of softball,” smiled Ana. “Whether it is the late night games with the lights shining down on you or those early morning ones when you smell fresh cut grass. I like it when our team is the first one there and we start warming up.”
Ana said her travel softball team Kraze (now Vexus) definitely had a huge impact on her softball career. “God led me to that team. We were all so close and the girls were amazing. The coaches were terrific. I made lifelong friends through that experience.
“I first want to thank God, because I would not be experiencing this today if it wasn’t for Him. I want to thank all my coaches. Coach (Whitney) Webb and my dad helped to keep me focused and working hard. She knows my potential and wants me to be to the best of my ability.
“I appreciate my travel teams. I had the opportunity to play with several different ones. My school teammates are a special part of my life. They are very special to me and I will never forget the memories we have made.
“I am excited that Marion is giving me a chance to play for them. I am going to keep working hard and make Marion proud. I want to make a difference and be an asset to their team.”
Ana said her favorite pasttime is reading. “I love “The Hunger Games” series,” she said. “If you need to know something about the “The Hunger Games” just ask me,” she chuckled. “I can tell you all about it. I have read all the series and watched all the movies. I love it!”
The honor student gives God all the credit for her blessings and opportunities that have come her way. “I started reading devotionals over the summer. When I began that, it helped me a lot. It helped me to get closer to God and to keep a balance in my life. Whatever is going on, God is always with me.”
Ana is an active member of Waldrop Free Will Baptist Church, in Haleyville.
Haleyville High School head softball coach Whitney Webb noted that Ana was a pleasure to coach. “She has played high school softball since the seventh grade. I became her coach when she was a freshman. She does anything I ask her to do. Ana is a hard worker and very determined. I love that about her. She will give you 100 percent every time.
“She is an encourager, especially to the younger players. Ana is not one to want to be out front and all about me, but she is a leader. That is a wonderful quality.
“I am looking forward to this softball season. She has developed in her pitching and her leadership and is a major part of our program. I know she will carry that on to MMI, as well.
“Ana is fun to be around too. You never know what is going to come out of her mouth. Watching her grow has been a fun process. She is a positive light for our team. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be her coach. I am very proud of her and wish her a lot of success as she furthers her softball career.”
Kyle Rushing also spoke during the ceremony. “We are extremely proud of you Ana. I have been involved with the girls in our softball program during the youth league up until now.
“We have been through a lot of good times and a lot of fun and laughter.
“Ana Aaron is the epitome of hard work, dedication and love of the game. Part of the result is paying off today.”
Ana’s father, Gary, said he appreciated the support throughout the years. “It has been a wild and fun journey. Everyone in this room has contributed to where she is at right now. I appreciate it. Through her hard work and your help, she is achieving her goals and I believe she will go farther.”
MMI assistant softball coach Kori Benson said about Ana, “We are really excited to have her to join us. We are expecting her to be a big part of our program, an important part of our circle and a great leader for our team.
“We like what she throws. She gets a lot of ground balls. We know she will do a good job for us.”
Ana is the daughter of Gary and Vickie Aaron.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.