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April 15

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The Many Sides of Gaby Abigor – Division 1 Basketball Player of the Year

The Many Sides of Gaby Abigor – Division 1 Basketball Player of the Year

We’ve all seen the universal diagram of an atom – there’s probably a poster or 3D mobile of one hanging in the Berean science room. In every illustration of the atom, yellow electrons rotate around a tight nucleus of blue protons and red neutrons. Berean High School junior, Gabrielle Abigor, is like that model of an atom. At her center is a set of core values and characteristics, while her interests are wide ranging and dynamic.

Let’s start with the nucleus. Gaby is a perfectionist. She loves her family and her Nigerian heritage. She wants to use her time on earth to help people and glorify God. Around that core character, there are any number of interests and talents that fly endlessly around in her life. Gaby is a musician, an artist, a poet, and a computer programmer. She is truly multi-dimensional. And these are just the interests that I was able to uncover in a 45 minute phone interview. Right now, the interest that has taken center stage is basketball.

In August, Gaby Abigor was recognized as the Division 1 Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year for the 2021-2022 season. This is quite an achievement for someone with only one full season under her belt as a high school player. It is even more impressive given the fact that she hasn’t been playing the sport for very long.

Gaby didn’t start playing basketball until she was in seventh or eighth grade. But once she got into it, she really got into it. Coach Daniel Guy saw something in Gaby that pointed toward her natural abilities on the court. He recruited her to play on an AAU club team that he was putting together as a training ground for young players.

Her formative years aligned with the worst of the COVID pandemic spanning her 8th and 9th grade years. She barely had a season in her first year at Berean, but her Sophomore year – last year – was a different story. Gaby averaged 28 points, 18 rebounds, and 9 blocks per game.

In elementary school, Gaby didn’t play basketball. She played piano. She loved music so much she started writing her own. When she was ten years old, she wrote a song called, “Change” about taking the initiative to change the world on your own without waiting for someone else to do it. That’s the kind of music that inspires Gaby. One of the songs that she listens to constantly is “Stand Up” from the 2019 film, Harriet, a biographical movie about the extraordinary life of Harriet Tubman.

It’s a fitting song for Gaby. The lyrics speak in the voice of a leader bearing the burden of difficult choices to stay or go.

So I’m gonna stand up
Take my people with me.
Together we are going
To our brand new home.

The last line of the song is, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Gaby’s parents immigrated from Nigeria. They made the hard decision to leave their homeland to – in a way – prepare a place for Gaby and her siblings. Her parents’ story is a big part of Gaby’s life. It has taught her about perseverance and the courage required to do hard things. They have shown her an example of trusting God.

Gaby explained to me that in Nigerian culture, the village really does raise the children. Her father told her that a neighbor could discipline a child the same as mom and dad.

“Everyone is your auntie and uncle in a Nigerian village,” says Gaby.

But just as the people in the village may discipline a child as if the child was their own, so too will they pray for and celebrate with a child from their village. Gaby says that there are people back in Nigeria praying for her all the time.

“I feel like when I succeed, I’m not the only one succeeding. It’s my whole village.”

Gaby loves basketball. It’s what drives her to continue to work hard to keep improving. She hopes that her hard work will lead to a college scholarship in two years. She would like to build a career that incorporates several facets of her identity – computer science, music, art, and writing. The end goal, she says, is to inspire people and glorify God.

The future belongs to people like Gaby who embrace their own multi-faceted identity and use it to create something new. It’s encouraging to see how Berean Christian High School is fostering such students in their classrooms.


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