On a wall in South Bend’s John Adams High School, a row of faded photographs highlighting athletic accomplishments leads the way to the school’s gymnasium.
In one photo, a 15-year-old freshman smiles proudly, the youngest on a team of varsity athletes who had just won the 1986 Indiana softball sectional.
In the gymnasium on the other side of the wall, that same 15-year-old spent countless hours on the basketball court, both as a cheerleader for the boys basketball team and as a player on the girls team.
Nearly three decades later, Lisa Varga looks at the photograph and laughs, pointing out that her eyes were closed.
“I remember that season so well,” Lisa said. “It was just me and one other freshman. The older girls made us earn our keep.”
Several yards down that hallway, Lisa is called to use the same leadership skills and work ethic she learned as an athlete at the school.


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