BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Another high school athlete has chosen a college to play sports. Tennis player Chester Wickwire is going to Nebraska. But the path he took to get to this point looks different than the typical student athlete path.
“To be in one of the top four conferences in the country, it’s a dream,” he said.
Wickwire spent four years at Mahoning Unlimited Classroom, which is inside Southern Park Mall.
He said math was the most difficult subject for him on the way to graduation. Wickwire wasn’t in a traditional classroom setting, but he was required to spend 27 hours a week in class.
“Without being given all this leeway, I would not have been able to play all this tennis that I needed to play and reach the level that I wanted to reach,” he said.
Wickwire practices tennis five to six hours every day.
Mahoning Unlimited Classroom provides an option for students who need a nontraditional school experience. Some have trouble with social anxiety, others are sick and some are athletes.
“We have a professional skateboarder who’s local. He’s an eighth grader. He’s been in movies and travels all over the USA,” Principal Jayson Yeagley said. “That student who’s involved in other nontraditional pieces, I think we work well for that type of student.”
Students control their own pace, watched by their teachers. It’s structured and aligned with state and national standards.
Mahoning Unlimited Classroom just became NCAA certified.
“Our students that come here, all of their coursework can be approved to play at Division I down,” Yeagley said.
Wickwire said his days were long. No free time — it was all tennis and school. But it helped him get ranked as high as 148th and achieve what he wanted.
“I had to sacrifice a lot of fun times for tennis to invest in the later fun times with tennis,” he said.
Mahoning Unlimited Classroom has approximately 150 students enrolled. For more information about the school, you can visit its website. If you’d like to schedule an appointment to learn more, you can call the Mahoning County Educational Service Center at 330-533-8755.