This is the fourth in a series honoring outstanding high school student-athletes during the 2014-15 school year.
Student-athletes were nominated by representatives of their schools in the categories of Scholar-Athlete, Most Inspirational, Leadership and Community Service. A panel of Tennessean editors and reporters selected the winners in those categories as well as Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
The normally chatty children were silent as they laid on the gym floor at the end of their yoga session.
They were on their backs with arms and legs outstretched and eyes closed. Their chests rose and fell as they slowly inhaled and exhaled.
Miller Fahey slowly rolled to a sitting position and watched them relax. She wondered whether to wake them up or let them sleep.
It took a lot of planning to get to this moment. From recruiting and hiring a handful of camp counselors to coordinating transportation for a group of about 20 economically disadvantaged children and finally, planning a month’s worth of full-day camp activities.
It’s the last school-related activity she’ll lead before heading to college this fall. A final goodbye after a chaotic Battle Ground Academy high school career filled with club activities, state titles in track and soccer, good grades despite a rigorous course load and many sleepless nights.
It was her love of working with and helping others that helped push her through it all, the 18-year-old said.
Fahey was involved in seven school activities — French club, student council, National Honor Society, a mentoring program, Honor Council, student newspaper and the school’s “Plato and Greer” organization, a BGA tradition — and held leadership positions in nearly all of them.
In her senior year, she was president of the student council and the school’s honor council, which oversees discipline for academic dishonesty.
Last fall, she was co-captain of her school’s soccer team and helped lead them to a state championship title.
The season wasn’t easy. The team hit a low point during the season. BGA soccer coach Jan Morrissey said she had to give what she calls a “kick in your pants” kind of speech.
The soccer players could quit the team or step up their game, Morrissey said.
Fahey and some other teammates soon initiated their own pep talk with the soccer team.
“I swear it made a difference the next week,” Morrissey said.
“The timing of those is everything. Like a good leader, she can sense when those kinds of things are needed,” she said.
As co-captain, Fahey said she saw herself primarily as a team motivator. She said she preferred to lead by example.
Whether on the field for the entire game or powering through running exercises, she was always positive, Morrissey said.
Longtime classmate and soccer teammate Mary Nowland Sessions said she’s not sure how Fahey balanced everything.
“No matter what she did, she was very involved and engaged. She never did anything halfway,” Sessions said.
Fahey admits all the activities cost her sleeping time. She’d get only a few hours of sleep after a full day of school, sports practices and homework.
“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know if you can do all this, Miller,’ ” said Ginny Fahey, Miller’s mother.
“It’s pretty wild just seeing her going to school all day, go to a school practice, to a travel team practice, then come from that and walk in the door at 9:30 at night and sit down and do three to four hours of homework,” said Steve Fahey, her father.
But Miller proved she could handle it, so her parents said they supported her.
Fahey said she plans to take it easy in her first semester of college. She plans on playing intramural soccer and would like to get involved with nonprofits.
“If something is important to me, I want to do it and make a difference,” Fahey said.
Reach Melanie Balakit at 615-926-1638 and on Twitter @MelanieBalakit.
Miller Fahey at a glance
High School: Battle Ground Academy
Sports: track, soccer
Favorite sport: soccer
Track state titles: fourth place for 300-meter hurdles (2012-13), first place for 4×1 relay (2013-14), fourth place for 300-meter hurdles (2013-14)
Soccer state title: first place (2014-15)
Soccer position: center back
Favorite athlete: Lolo Jones, a U.S. Olympic women’s track and field athlete
A person she admires: Ryan Douglas, a track coach at Father Ryan High School
College: business major at Indiana University Bloomington; plans to play intramural soccer
Other leadership honorees
• Lincoln Jones, Brentwood
• P.J. Settles, Ensworth
• Christian Webster, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy
• Anna Whitt, Independence