“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
Sir Edmund Hilary, a native New Zealander, and Nepalese Sherpa teammate Norgay Tenzing, were the first individuals to reach the peak of Mt. Everest. Hillsborough Community College embraces “the Land of the Long White Cloud” for another reason: Adoniah and Petra.
Like Hillary, Adoniah Lewis, a transfer from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa and a point guard/guard along with Petra Erceq, a forward/center and members of the HCC Lady Hawks, are from New Zealand and former teammates. What the three have in common are setting challenging goals, being determined, and taking on new adventures. According to Coach Jennifer Sepielli, “Adoniah and Petera provide a delightful accent and add to the cultural and diverse makeup of the team.”
Coach Sepielli stated, “Although the duo possesses sweet and caring personalities, fellow teammates are teaching them to play a more competitive, aggressive, and stronger game.” “U.S. basketball has a much faster pace than the laid back one in New Zealand.” This fits with a theme the Lady Hawks have this season, “My sisters’ keeper on and off the court.”
Ms. Erceq, who lost her mother a few years back, and Ms. Lewis embrace the team as family on a daily basis and notably when feeling homesick. Coach feels they are so appreciative and grateful for the opportunities at HCC and were sent here for a reason. Besides the classroom, a lot of learning takes place at eateries: Taco Bell, Boston Market, and Subway. Petra, the quiet one, once ordered a “fizzy” when out. Fellow players and counter help were baffled by the request. All were relieved when Petra revealed, “It’s a soda!” Then there was the time when one of the “Kiwis” (a flightless bird and a name for native New Zealanders) ordered chicken with a side of orange stuff topped with marshmallows. The dish was the standard sweet potato casserole.
“The reason I came to HCC is I wanted to experience warmer weather than Iowa and join my friend Petra whom I played with back home,” Adoniah joyfully declares. “I also like living at Hawk’s Landing which is so resort-like and feels like I am on holiday.” She can’t say enough about the family environment the Lady Hawks provide. The coach and the team are always there for you as well as the Tootsie Rolls!
Article Written By: A.M. “Mia” K. Sadler, M.Ed., Academic Advisor.