This article first published in Harker Magazine, winter, 2018, then in Harker News Online on Dec. 18, 2018
Prior to the Homecoming game, a few of Harker’s finest athletes, along with their friends and families, gathered for the opening of the Harker Athletic Hall of Fame in the Krishnamurthi Sports Gallery in the recently opened athletic center. When the display was revealed, four names were inscribed on the wall: three Harker athletes and one super fan, Phyllis Carley.
It says a lot about the school that the inaugural group would include someone who was never a student at Harker, and never wore Harker colors on the field, but who represents the school’s spirit. Mrs. Carley started her Harker career in 1952 in Palo Alto as a driver, shuttling local students to school, and became secretary to the head of school; her contribution to campus life went far beyond her desk. She was a staunch supporter of Harker athletics for more than 50 years and, even after retiring, she was one of the program’s biggest fans. She passed away in 2009.
“She gave of her time endlessly to the school. She was first in the door and many times last to leave. She believed in the joy of watching young people develop,” said Mike Bassoni, facilities director, who has been with Harker for more than 30 years.
“She always seemed to be on the lookout for the kid(s) who needed an extra dose of attention that day,” said teacher Pat Walsh, who retired in 2017 and worked with Mrs. Carley for more than 30 years. Mrs. Carley’s love for the school and its athletes earned her this posthumous induction into the new Hall of Fame. Equally, the Harker athletes selected have demonstrated far more than athletic ability, earning academic honors and working hard for success and satisfaction in their professional lives.
Tanya Schmidt ’08
Tanya Schmidt ’08, the most recent graduate, was a four-year starter on Harker’s varsity girls volleyball team. In 2007, she led the team into Harker history with a series of firsts, including being on the first Harker team to compete at the state championships. She was California Division IV State MVP that year. Schmidt went on to a stellar volleyball career at Santa Clara University, then played two years of pro volleyball in Europe.
Beyond athletics, Schmidt was a National Merit finalist and an AP Scholar with Honor, and served as president of a service club while at Harker. At SCU, she was named a regional finalist to interview for a Rhodes scholarship and graduated summa cum laude. Schmidt was awarded the Saint Clare Medal, which recognizes a student who embodies the university’s ideals of “competence, conscience and compassion,” given to the female graduate judged “outstanding in academic performance (and) personal character.”
Having completed her master’s degree, she is now pursuing a doctorate at New York University.
Jason Martin ’07
Jason Martin ’07 was a force on the diamond and gridiron, but had equally strong classroom chops; following college, he played semi-professional baseball, explored entrepreneurship and now works in logistics management. While playing baseball at Harker, Martin was named to the varsity second all-league team during his freshman year and to the first team for the next three years. He played varsity football for three years and in 2006 became the only player in Harker history to run for a touchdown, throw for a touchdown and catch a touchdown in the same game.
His academic successes resonate too: In 2010, Martin was one of two players on the San Jose State University team to land a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America/ESPN The Magazine Academic All- District VIII Baseball First Team. He was one of only five student athletes in the Western Athletic Conference to be honored for his achievements both in the classroom and on the diamond. Martin finished as the Spartans’ all-time leader in hits (227), runs scored (174), games played (236), at-bat appearances (832) and hit-by-pitches (65).
Along the way he majored in psychology and minored in kinesiology, and graduated as a three time San Jose State scholar-athlete and two time Academic All-Western Athletic Conference athlete, a testament to his efforts in the classroom. Following college and three years of semi-pro ball, Martin took a real-life risk and opened a pizza restaurant, Lefty’s: A Taste of Boston. Lefty’s remains a family business, but Martin wanted a new challenge. He found an avenue for his skills working for Cushman & Wakefield on site at LinkedIn as a logistics coordinator, putting even more of his education to work.
Adam Vucurevich ’02
A member of the upper school’s first class, Adam Vucurevich ’02 played football, baseball and wrestling, making him Harker’s first three-sport athlete. He was team captain for football in his sophomore and junior years, and was MVP and got an honorable mention in the all-CCS team that year. He also captained the baseball and wrestling teams and was Homecoming king his senior year.
On top of all that, his academic work was impressive. Vucurevich noted Harker’s upper school was academically very challenging, but he took up the gauntlet, taking the top math classes offered, including Honors Multivariate Calculus, Differential Equations, AP Statistics and AP Physics C. They were tough, he said, “but I stayed with it and I did not quit.”
Vucurevich went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and worked for a few years in tech, but did not find his place. “It wasn’t me,” he said, “and I wanted to find my purpose.”
To that end, he took a quantum leap. “Harker instilled in me kindness and respect for others and challenged me to do and to be my best, both academically and athletically,” Vucurevich said. “This drive to be my personal best and to do the best for others has led me to my current career of law enforcement. Helping others and dealing with all sorts of people, handling a variety of stressful situations with the right amount of tact, being creative and resourceful, showing good judgment in all types of situations, and having good teamwork skills is essential in my line of work. I have truly found my passion.”
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