Dec. 28, 2021

Student Spotlight: Maxi Duncan, Tennis Athlete

It’s truly inspiring to see the way Maxi Duncan has risen to tennis stardom while also prioritizing her education. After realizing that she needed flexibility with her school schedule, Maxi enrolled in CalPac as an incoming eighth grader. Online schooling gave her the freedom to pursue her passion for tennis without neglecting her education.

After studying at CalPac from eighth grade to twelfth grade while also playing competitive tennis, Maxi’s hard work paid off. She started attending Harvard University in fall 2021 on a full athletic scholarship, making her the first Ivy League accepted student from CalPac. Keep reading to learn how CalPac’s free online charter schooling helped Maxi pursue her dreams of becoming a tennis star.

Realizing Her Passion for Tennis

Maxi realized she was passionate about playing tennis at a young age. It started when her dad, Gerald, noticed she had great hand-eye coordination and encouraged her to try playing tennis. Gerald is a former NBA agent and professional basketball player, so it looks like his love of sports got passed on to Maxi. He started coaching her with tennis, and as Maxi kept honing her athletic skills, it became clear this was more than a fleeting hobby.

However, taking time to practice and attend tournaments required a flexible school schedule – one that traditional schooling couldn’t provide. That’s when Maxi’s parents started researching online schooling. They compared several different programs, but ultimately decided that CalPac was the best fit for Maxi.

Maxi’s mom, Gigi, said, “We just feel like [CalPac] is the best because the teachers really care.”

Balancing School and Tennis

Maxi enrolled in CalPac as an incoming eighth grader and continued thriving as both an athlete and a student. Online schooling gave her the flexibility she needed to keep playing tennis at a competitive level. In addition to the flexible schedule, Maxi also appreciated the excellent curriculum and support from the staff.

“It’s really great. I know all of my teachers and they all try to work with me,” Maxi said.

Gerald has said that the staff at CalPac encouraged Maxi to succeed, helping her reach her unique goals. Maxi’s instructors made the right exceptions for her busy schedule, yet still held her accountable for her schoolwork. They also made sure to provide extra assistance, such as tutoring, when needed.

“She has to do a lot of [schoolwork] on her own, but at the same time, she has the resources for tutoring,” Gerald said. “They have their own live sessions like you’re right in the classroom.”

By becoming a CalPac student, Maxi was able to keep up with tennis practice and compete in international tournaments. No matter what time zone she was in, she was still able to complete her schoolwork and communicate with teachers. Not only did Maxi repeatedly make honor roll, she also had a 4.0 grade point average – an impressive feat for any student, especially one with a blossoming tennis career!

In 2020, Maxi won three consecutive tournaments, two college and one pro. This totaled 16 consecutive matches, which was the longest streak that year by a junior tennis player. Despite the widespread negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic during this time, Maxi stayed focused on working towards her goals, continuing to excel with her tennis career and academics.

Getting into an Ivy League College

One of the aspects Gerald liked most about CalPac was that it prepared Maxi for college. CalPac provides NCAA-approved courses, making it a great choice for an ambitious college-bound student like Maxi.

Gerald explained, “For me, as a parent, the most important thing is not sports or tennis. It’s that my child gets a great education so she can lead a very productive life.”

Maxi became a top 10 recruit nationally and attracted the interest of renowned universities such as Harvard, Columbia, Brown, and more. With help from the staff at CalPac, Maxi started the college application process.

Our counselors let Maxi know all the requirements and deadlines so she was able to apply to the colleges she was considering. Meanwhile, our advisors sent the universities her transcripts and other important academic information. Our teachers read over her essays, gave her feedback, and wrote recommendation letters.

In the end, Maxi decided to attend Harvard University, making her the very first CalPac student to be accepted into an Ivy League university. She started college in fall 2021 on a full athletic scholarship.

While studying law and publishing at Harvard, she’s also continuing to work towards her tennis goals. She has her sights set on joining the Women’s Tennis Association tour and winning a national championship.

It’s clear there are big things in store for Maxi.  Her hard work and determination have put her on the path to success, and the team here at CalPac is thrilled to have been a part of her journey. We can’t wait to see all the different ways she continues to succeed with academics and sports!