METAMORA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — It’s Esma Frieden’s turn to lead now.
In the past, the four-year varsity standout at Metamora politely took a back seat while older teammates assumed leadership positions. Now she’s embracing the role as a senior.
“I’ve always loved to lead. I’m a pretty talkative, outgoing person,” Said Frieden. “Having a set leadership role as a senior is cool. It gives me a reason to leas even more so.”
Frieden helped lead Metamora to a conference volleyball championship this fall. She’s been a part of Mid-Illini Conference champs all four years of high school.
“I really don’t remember Metamora volleyball without Esma, since she’s been here four years,” said Metamora coach Tara Ballard. “She’s one of the hardest workers.”
She’s a leader in her community too. An animal lover, she’s volunteered at a local animal sanctuary and co-founded Metamora’s first animal rights club. She and her younger sister Mia started the club to help promote plant-based foods among other things.
“We have vegan cookie baking sessions,” Frieden explained. “Some of the goals of the club are to raise awareness for animals and encourage people to extend their love beyond dogs and cats. We just started last year and we’re already 30 members strong.”
And Frieden leads in the classroom. A whiz with numbers she started taking accelerated math in the third grade and eventually zipped through all her possible math choices in high school.
She hasn’t made a decision where she’d like to go to college but she hopes she can still play volleyball. Frieden wants to study bioengineering so she’s already taking high-level college courses while still in high school.
“Over the summer and this fall of my senior year, I enrolled in an online college program from the University of Texas at Austin,” said Frieden. “I took multi-variable calculus. Just finished it.”
That’s a polite way of saying she’s already on her way to a college degree.