Bunnell High School volleyball senior captain Ava Almeida is both multi-faceted and driven. On the court, and in the classroom, she strives to be the best version of herself every day. As a volleyball player, who runs track in the winter and spring, Almeida is a setter who is adaptable enough to send down a kill or dig a ball out the court. While a bright future awaits her after college, which she’ll head out to next fall, earlier this week, Almeida took time out after a Bulldogs practice to go “On The Record” with The Stratford Sports Scene.
STRATFORD SPORTS SCENE: What’s the best thing about Bunnell High School?
AVA ALMEIDA: I think the best thing about Bunnell High School is how much we’re kind of all united. I think a lot of schools and a lot of teams can be segregated in some way, but in the end, we all represent Bunnell, we all pride and we all come together when necessary.
SSS: If you could change one thing about the school, what would it be?
AA: Honestly, I don’t think I’d change anything. Even though Bunnell has imperfections, not everything is perfect, I really think it’s a place that shows our character.
SSS: What teacher or coach has had the biggest impact on you at Bunnell?
AA: I’d say (varsity volleyball coach) Dan (Romaniello) has had a big impact on me, especially this year. He’s definitely helped me with constructive criticism and showing me what my strengths and weaknesses are and how to work better and smarter in a game.
SSS: How did you become a volleyball player?
AA: I became a volleyball player when I realized how this sport allows me to get out a lot of emotions and a lot of build-up. Whenever I come to practice, I feel happy and free and there’s no stress. When you take a lot of rigorous courses and you’re going through college stuff, you need that and it’s a great escape.
SSS: How would you describe your role on the volleyball team?
AA: I’d say my role is that of a captain. With that role, it’s definitely picking up my teammates when we’re down; help us stay organized and stay positive, to be smart and be together.
SSS: Every day at practice, you’re on the court under four banners that show Bunnell was once a dominant program that won state and league championships. What’s that like?
AA: I say it’s inspiring. It shows, first of all, they’re not outdated. They’re fairly recent, so it’s inspiring to know people like us, our age, can get to that point. We can strive for that. Seeing those banners makes us all work harder.
SSS: It’s match point. Would you want to serve an ace, kill the ball, or set a teammate up with an assist to clinch the win?
AA: Match point? I’d say I’m going to give that set. I’m going to give that assist and watch my teammate kill it so we can work together to get that point.
SSS: What is your earliest sports memory?
AA: Honestly, my earliest sports memory is when we did a Stratford track league and we practiced in a park, not on a real track. It was interesting, but it was my first athletic experience and it got me into sports.
SSS: What scares you?
AA: I’d say one of my biggest fears is failure, for sure, which is why I work hard to succeed if it’s school work, sports or my life in general.
SSS: What’s your perfect breakfast?
AA: Pancakes, fruit and hot chocolate.
SSS: The ideal midnight snack?
AA: Ice cream and chocolate. Separate, but chocolate ice cream would be good, too.
SSS: And your favorite home-cooked meal?
AA: A big bowl of pasta. Any kind—mac and cheese, alfredo. Just pasta.
SSS: What is something nobody knows about you?
AA: I’d say something a lot of people don’t know is that I have two sides to me. I have the work-hard, push-push side, but I also have a really creative and flowy side to me. They come out in different environments.
SSS: If you could be a Disney character for a day, who would it be and why?
AA: I’d definitely say I’d be Moana, the Disney princess. That could really expose that other side of me, the creative free-flowing side who lives life in nature, near water, I love water.
SSS: If you could live anywhere other than Stratford, where would it be?
AA: Definitely out of the United States, somewhere very peaceful, like a tropical island. Thailand maybe. Or, maybe Hawaii.
SSS: What is your go-to song to sing in the shower or the car?
AA: It’s kind of embarrassing, but I could go hard to some early 2000s Jonas brothers, Miley Cyrus. Early 2000s music, for sure.
SSS: If you could witness something from history, what would it be?
AA: I’d say the “I Have a Dream” speech. To be there to see MLK do that speech for would crazy inspiring. I’d love to have been there for that.
SSS: What one word best describes Ava Almeida?
AA: I’d say strong—in both the mental and physical way.
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