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SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: You've Got a Friend

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Jessica Foster prides herself on being nice

By John Overby

Some people have commented on how funny and outgoing she is.

And her coach called her “a little spitfire” on the court because of her aggressive play.

But for Jessica Foster, she would like to be known for just being nice to everybody and treating others as she would like to be treated.

“I don’t try to be anybody else,” Foster said. “I’m a nice person, so I just like to be nice to everybody. I don’t think I have anybody that doesn’t like me, and I think that’s a good thing.”

Perhaps her easy-going temperament was a result of Foster growing up on a farm and “learning how to respect somebody.”

And maybe she picked up her serene disposition from her favorite place to go: her grandma’s house in Fredericktown.

She goes there every Sunday, and its grandest appeal outside of family bonding is that “it’s just real peaceful out there. I like that kind of stuff.”

But whatever the reasons, Foster’s friendliness has made her likable, both on and off the volleyball court.

Head Coach Anne Mudd said that Foster is “just a joy to be around.”

And Foster is most proud of her ability to pick up teammates when they’re discouraged, an obvious extension of her off-the-court persona.

“I always try to help others when they’re down,” Foster said. “That’s what you do for your teammates.”

Foster first got into volleyball because her older sisters, Dawn and Ashley, played the sport.

Since she had “always been kind of athletic,” she enjoyed hitting the ball around with them before she had even imagined playing organized volleyball.

But as soon as a team was made available to her (in seventh grade), she joined up.

Foster developed quickly as a volleyball player and even got some varsity playing time as a freshman.

Like anyone would be, Foster was nervous when she first stepped on the floor with those upperclassmen.

“I just remember that I was really scared out there,” Foster said. “I was just a little ol’ freshman out there with the seniors.”

Just as fast as the fears came, though, they were gone.

“Once you’re out there, you get used to it,” Foster said. “Everybody messes up, so you’ve just gotta shake it off.”

Foster credits her defense as her greatest strength, and Mudd agrees.

“She comes out of corners that you didn’t even know were there,” Mudd said. “We rely on her a lot because she’s just an overall impressive, aggressive player. She’s a player that it’s hard for her not to be on the floor.”

While it would seem her aggressive demeanor on the court would contradict her kindliness, Foster thinks that she should give it her all every time she steps on the floor, something she learned at an early age.

“Kids don’t really know what hard work is as much as they used to,” Foster said. “That’s why I like to go out there and try my hardest at everything I do.”

With the season almost over, Foster believes that she will miss being in the presence of her teammates most of all.

“They’re just fun to be around,” Foster said. “They lift you up, and you pick them up. I’m gonna miss ‘em.”

Foster’s unsure where she’ll be going to college, but she does know that she wants to become a physical therapist assistant, a natural outlet for her niceness.

“I’ve always liked helping people,” Foster said. “I’ve just always liked that kind of stuff.”