GGC’s 9000th student a scholar and athlete

Salina Orzikowski

Student-athlete Salina Orzikowski 

Like many college freshmen, Salina Orzikowski, is experiencing nervous excitement about going to college.

“Most people would dismiss being nervous, I'll admit it - I'm terrified,” Salina said when asked to describe her feelings about starting her collegiate career.

“I have a full schedule of juggling school, soccer and work. Plus, it's my first year starting a completely different lifestyle that will ultimately decide my future. Yet, that's the thrill of it, too,” she said. "The idea of growing as a person and becoming an adult - it's nice. I'm ready to further challenge myself and in the end becoming a better, wiser me.”

Salina, the 9000th student to register at GGC this semester and representing a milestone in the college’s continued enrollment growth, also is one of the institution’s first student-athletes. She will play mid-field on the Grizzlies’ women’s soccer team, which opens the college’s historic inaugural year of intercollegiate competition on Aug. 25 at 1:00 p.m. The lady Grizzlies will open a double-header with the men’s team against Tennessee Temple University. The game is open to the public and admission is free.

Looking forward to playing for the Grizzlies, Salina said she sees being on the first women’s soccer team as an honor, and appreciates the significance of this season’s place in GGC history.

“I thank Coach Dom Martelli for giving me a chance to join the first- ever women's team, as well as the opportunity to prove myself as an athlete, and to represent an entire college for the first time as it debuts its intercollegiate program,” she said.

“It's quite a bit of responsibility, though. You can't mess up because it reflects upon not just you but your coaches, your team, the program itself, your school, even Gwinnett County as a whole, but I'm looking forward to it and can't wait to see what becomes of the team!”

Her mother, Karen, has every confidence her daughter will succeed at GGC, both academically and as an athlete. An honor graduate from Lawrenceville, Salina intends to obtain an exercise science degree so she can work as a physical therapist. With this goal in mind, Georgia Gwinnett was the clear choice.

“GGC has the program she wanted. It’s affordable. It’s convenient and close to home. She already knows people at the college. And she already knows members of the soccer team,” said Karen.

Soccer is very important to the Orzikowskis.

“We are a total soccer family. By the time our kids knew there was anything else in sports, it was too late,” joked Karen. She and her husband, Hardy, both from Germany, have played soccer.

Salina began playing soccer at age three and running at five. She played soccer and ran cross-country at Central Gwinnett High School, where she won MVP awards in both sports. Like their older sister, 11-year old twins Juliana and Verena play traveling soccer with Georgia Futbol Club, for which Hardy has coached for 19 years.

Older brother Christopher Reedy, 23, also plays soccer. After having served in the U.S. Army Reserves, he plans to attend Georgia Gwinnett beginning in spring 2013. He also plans to pursue a degree in exercise science so he can become an athletic trainer, his mother said.

Sports aside, Salina is equally focused on her academics.

“I'm looking forward to the classes, honestly. I like learning,” she said. “Education is the key for me to be successful in life. If I want to grow as a person, I need to start in the classroom. The success I attain in college is the only way I'm going to be able to go places in life.”

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