COLLEGE BOUND … Alexis (blue) and Olivia (red) Bergman are headed to Grace College for softball.
By: Bill O’Connell
Swanton High School seniors and identical twins, Alexis and Olivia Bergman, have signed Letters of Intent with Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana to continue their education and softball careers. When recruiting student-athletes, Grace College looks for individuals with a strong Christian faith, a vigorous focus on academics and solid athletic talent. Alexis and Olivia meet all those requirements at a very high level.
Both young women have a rock-solid belief in Christianity. They rank first and second in their graduating class with Alexis as the Valedictorian (4.60 GPA) and Olivia as the Salutatorian (4.58 GPA). They are both members of the National Honor Society (NHS), NWOAL Scholar Athletes and NHS Scholarship Recipients.
And, the twins have honed their softball skills playing on talented Swanton High School teams as well as some of the premier traveling fastpitch softball programs in the area such as the Great Lakes Sharks, the Ohio Lightning and the SGS Magic.
“When looking at colleges, my priorities were to find a college where I could be challenged in all aspects of my life,” said Alexis explaining her choice. “As soon as I went on campus at Grace and practiced with the team, I knew Grace was a college that put God first and strove to be excellent in their academics and athletics, and I wanted to be a part of that.” “Grace will not only challenge me academically and athletically, but it will help me grow in my Christian faith,” said Olivia.
Although they share the exact same DNA, Olivia and Alexis did consider going to separate schools. “We wanted to each make the decision that was best for us individually and ultimately, where God was leading us. We are glad that place ended up being together,” said Olivia. “We hold each other accountable and greatly enjoy experiencing life together so I’m thankful that we both get to start this next journey at the same school,” added Alexis.
Society tends to glorify athletes but Alexis and Olivia have a very healthy perspective on that. “I have learned a lot about servant leadership and the importance of having the right perspective of sports in my life. They can’t define me or my worth. Sports have challenged me to move past my fears and doubts and to push myself further than I think I can go.” said Alexis.
“While sports are fun and you work so hard to be good at them, never let them be your identity. It can go away so quickly. Work hard and set goals for yourself, but find contentment and joy where you are as an athlete now. Keep fighting to become better and let the failures teach you and the successes give you confidence,” added Olivia.
It is this type of understanding that both coaches and teachers welcome whole heartedly. “They are tremendous young people and leaders,” commented Swanton teacher and head softball coach Joe Nye.
“Both have been very important in turning this program around. Always respectful and very hard workers and two of the best attitudes I have been around in my 38 years. When you ask them to do something, whether in class or on the field, it gets done. Very classy young ladies. They will do great things in the future.”
Despite the disappointment of having their senior softball season cancelled and having to finish their high school year remotely due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, both girls are looking forward to the next chapter in their lives. Alexis will be studying Business with a concentration in Finance or Accounting and Olivia will be majoring in Elementary Education with Mild Intervention.
They also understand how to battle through adversity, having both suffered through season-ending knee injuries during high school. And yes, it was the same type of injury in the same knee. They are identical twins, after all.
Bill can be reached at email@example.com