Alyssa Zokoe - Coopersville basketball.

When Alyssa Zokoe gets involved in something, then she knows how to get the job done and have a good time doing it. The six foot Coopersville senior plays post for the Broncos hoops team and has been All Conference for the track team in discus and shot put for the past two years. Alyssa is a tough competitor who plays to win, but she also realizes that there are other things in life that are equal to, or more important, than sports.
Checking in with Bronco coach Pete VanKempen we learned that Zokoe is a positive force on the team. She practices and plays hard. What is even more important in what can best be described as a “tough season” for the team, Alyssa helps to keep morale up with her extremely positive attitude, her good sportsmanship, and her outgoing, vibrant personality. For an example of what constitutes a tough season VanKempen related a recent game in which Zokoe scored 16 points and took down 21 rebounds and in spite of her effort and that of her teammates, the Broncos still lost to Cedar Springs. Zokoe was frustrated, but remained positive.
Even though she is the kind of person you might consider to be the “life of the party”, Alyssa can and does get serious. Coach VanKempen related that she has shown a big improvement between last season and this one. She pulled out the stops on her conditioning over the summer which has been obvious in her endurance and she is averaging 10 points and 7 to 8 rebounds per game this year. Her improvement has caught the attention of her opponents who often double up on her to box her out.
“When she gets the ball around the basket, she puts it in a lot more consistently this year,” VanKempen said. “Alyssa is everything you would want in a person on your team.”
Zokoe started playing basketball in the seventh grade and played quite a bit at church sponsored sports camps, but she said that she became more serious about it in high school – especially after attending team camp at Hope College.
“I decided to kick it in gear a little bit last summer,” Alyssa told us. “I ran a lot of sprints and played ball with my friends.”
Her performance in the field events is remarkable. Zokoe went out for track on a whim as a sophomore and ended her first season throwing the discus 110 feet, and putting the shot 34 feet which was good enough to earn All Conference honors. She improved those distances last season to 125 feet and 36 feet, 10 inches respectively. Her dad reported that she would often practice for another 45 minutes to an hour AFTER regular practice was over.
“I’m just three feet away from breaking the school record in shot, hopefully I’ll get it,” Zokoe commented.
She went on to compare and contrast the two sports. Alyssa really enjoys the aggressive, physical nature of basketball and defined herself as being “very competitive” on the court. While she appreciates being a part of a team, she also likes the fact that the track events are all up to her. She admitted that the solo efforts can be much more nerve wracking, but in some ways she likes that pressure even more.
Zokoe is very active in school and at the Standale Reformed Church. She has been on the Student Council for three years and is currently the Vice President. Alyssa started singing in the school choir in junior high and she is a second year soprano in the Show Choir. She is looking forward to a trip with the choir to Washington, DC in April when they will take part in the four day America Sings event. She was chosen for Homecoming Court and has also been a part of the Health Education School Board. (Alyssa was picked for this because “she is talkative and speaks her mind.”)
Her Introduction to Teaching class really sealed Zokoe’s plans for the future. Once she got to actually work with fifth graders in a classroom, she decided to get her degree in Elementary Education.
Alyssa is the middle child of Todd and Laurie Zokoe. Amanda is the oldest and her brother Scott is a basketball playing freshman. Her parents are proud of their enthusiastic, fun loving daughter. Todd explained that while Alyssa can act the clown and be very silly, she also has demonstrated a lot of love and compassion for others. He is totally supportive of her career choice.
“She is going to be a great teacher,” he commented. “It is an awesome choice for her.”
Alyssa’s compassion and the groundwork for her decision to teach have been helped by her involvement at church. She has been on several mission trips to Alaska, Philadelphia, and other places including a Friendship Camp catering to children with special needs. She has also taught Vacation Bible School for the last two years.
Todd Zokoe went on to describe his daughter as a self-confident young lady who takes life head on and tries her hardest at anything she does. According to him, she “adds a lot of flavor to the room wherever she goes”. We have to agree, Alyssa certainly has all the ingredients for a great teacher.
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