For Western Alamance High School senior Evan Kuehnel, the college classroom is a chance to get ahead no matter how tired he may get undertaking college classes, football and being a regular teenager.
“I see it more as an opportunity instead of being busy,” Kuehnel said. “I don’t get much sleep nowadays, but just trying to take on as much as possible to prepare for my future.”
Kuehnel is currently taking an accounting and a communications class at Elon University in the morning and attending Alamance Community College classes online. Though he is currently not taking any classes at Western, he is still considered a student.
After Kuehnel’s classes at Elon and Alamance Community College, he takes the football field to lead Western’s football team as quarterback.
“I’d probably say football games get a little more stressful with everyone watching and stuff and I feel like in school you have a little more control over things that can happen.” Kuehnel said. “I’m just one position — it might be important — but I’m just one position.”
Lynette Kuehnel, Evan’s mother, said she is proud of all the work he does on and off the field.
“He’s dedicated to everything he does. And not just football — in school too.School always comes first to him. As much as he loves football, you’ll see him studying before he hits the gym,” Lynette said. “He goes above and beyond. I’m still impressed by him every day.”
Evan said he is lucky to find support from Lynette.
“She’s everything for me, she helps me with everything. Anytime I do anything, she’s right there. She’s the greatest mom that I could ask for,” Evan said. “Without her, my life would be a lot different and a lot more hectic.”
Evan said outside of the classroom and football field, he takes pride in his extracurricular activities such as volunteering, where he has worked with kids with disabilities at Camp GreenLeaves and Warrior Buddies.
“I love it — every day going in with those kids and having a lot of really good relationships with them — it’s definitely changed my life,” Evan said.
As Evan wraps up his senior season, he said he is looking toward where his career will take him next. He said he’s currently looking to walk on to play in college and is prepared to work even harder.
“Put in the work and earn the scholarship. I just want to play football and be a part of the team,” Evan said. “I’ll put in the work that’s needed and I’ve done it for years, so it’s nothing new.”
With college decisions looming, Lynette said she isn’t trying to make Evan lean toward any particular school.
“We are not pushing him to stay close to home. This next part of his life, this journey is going to be on him. It’s got to be you know where he wants to go,” Lynette said. “Independence is a big thing. … I just want him to experience everything and leave nothing untouched as soon as he gets to college.”
With all the pressure he feels on the field, Evan said academics matters the most to him.
“Football will take you so far, but academics will take you wherever you want to go,” Evan said.
No matter how hard things get for Evan, he said he just needs to keep his head down and grind. Western Alamance plays its final game of the season Oct. 27 in hopes to make the playoffs.