Star Player Aims to be Star Teacher
As an infielder for the Mighty Macs’ softball team, Keani Hindle ’21 is a star player. However, when she is up next to bat, she repeats her mantra: “I do this because I like it. I’m here to have fun, and I am here for a degree.”
Attending Ocean City High School in New Jersey, Immaculata recruited Keani to play softball. She has earned Player of the Year honors and named First-Team Conference, which the Atlantic East Conference (AEC) gives to the best player for each position. During her freshman year, she and her teammates won the conference championship.
She is a true competitor. However, being an athlete has taught her many lessons over the years. Last year the team had just come off a big AEC win and they were hungry for their second consecutive championship. However, the team fell short of the playoffs. “We were heartbroken. The seniors were leaving, we weren’t going to be able to play any longer––all this sadness,” she remembers. Then, Head Coach Mike Wallace’s six-year old grandson appeared.
“I will never forget this,” Keani says, grinning. “We were crying and upset. And this little boy, who is six years old, hugs his grandfather and says, ‘You know, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, as long as you had fun.’ I cried even harder.”
Keani exemplifies the culture of the team. “She is a true team player and leader,” Wallace says. He explains that Keani volunteered to step in during the team’s fall play days, when four of the regular pitchers were out with injuries, making herself vulnerable in a position she typically doesn’t play.
As impressed as Wallace is with Keani’s softball skills and dedication to her team, he also recognizes her hard work in the classroom as well. As an English-secondary education major, Keani credits her 8th grade English teacher for inspiring her fascination with English. She vividly remembers that for Romeo and Juliet, the class split up between the Montagues and the Capulets and they acted out the entire play, using rulers as swords.
That experience was the catalyst for pursing teaching. Now her college professors are providing the skills to transform her into an excellent teacher. Currently in her junior year, Keani has been learning how to engage students, rather than teach at them.
“That’s why I’m in secondary ed. I want to teach 8th grade English,” she says. “I want to be that teacher.”
As an outstanding softball player and student in high school, Keani had several college opportunities to consider. However, she says all it took was a ride around campus for her to easily choose Immaculata. She loved the rolling hills, the open space on campus and the surrounding community.
“I had this idea of what a campus looked like, what I wanted… but I couldn’t put my finger on what it actually was. Just from driving by, I saw that Immaculata was basically what I wanted,” she states. Keani also acknowledges that receiving the Presidential Scholarship was a contributing factor!
As a student, Keani has broadened her involvement beyond softball. Currently she is a resident assistant for about 35 freshmen; a team-leader for New Student Orientation; a member of the Choices Program for alcohol awareness education; and is a writing assistant in the Writing Center.
Keani admits that Immaculata is a different college experience than many people expect because of its small size – it’s not big like Temple, Drexel or some of these really big schools. “But,” she adds, “The college experience I have, I wouldn’t trade for anything. This is exactly what I was looking for.”