EPCC athletes putting the classroom first

June 14, 2016

File Photo 

Taylor Putnam, a 4.0 student on the Tejanas softball team.



Maintaining a high GPA while playing a sport can definitely be a challenge, but three El Paso Community College (EPCC) student-athletes have proven its possible. 

Taylor Putnam, Kirt Cormier, and Kayla Pallares are student-athletes that have two things in common. They go hard on the field and even harder in the classroom. 

“A lively energetic student,” were the words Putnam’s former biology professor, Jose Maldonado, used to described her. 

Putnam has become the first student-athlete to maintain a 4.00 grade point average (GPA) for two years. 

“My motivation to keep me doing so well was knowing that it had never been done. I wanted to show future athletes that it was possible and motivate them to always strive to be better,” said Putnam.  

In order to achieve her classroom goal, Putnam is very involved in school. She is self-motivated and has mastered the balance of school and softball. 

“Putnam is stubborn in the sense that she is not going to settle for a B,” said Maldonado.

Pallares, a cross-country runner, managed to put her school first and her sport second. 
“I run to go to school and I go to school to run,” said Pallares. 

For Pallares, running and school go hand-in-hand. She is an athlete before she is a student. 

Although she loves what she does, she has run into the challenge of putting her other interests aside. In the end, Pallares thinks that it is all worth it. 

“Pallares was nothing but intense,” said Maldonado. “Her biggest strength in class was being able to be so focused.” 

Maldonado was a former biology instructor of Pallares and Putnam.

Pallares’ secret to finding time to study is going over the material in her mind as she runs, that way she can fully rest on her down time. 

“They definitely had a great impact on me. I enjoyed teaching them very much,” said Maldonado, when referring to Putnam and Pallares.

Cormier maintained a 3.85 GPA while he played for the EPCC baseball team. 

“I did not think that it was that difficult to keep my GPA up. The reason being that the instructors do a very good job of teaching you what you need to know to succeed in their class.” said Cormier.

Cormier is hard working in the classroom as well as on the field. 

“Honestly, as much time as he spends on the field, I wondered how he gets all his work done,” said baseball coach Gabriel Saucedo.

All three student-athletes were nominated by their teams with academic honors.

The EPCC Athletic Department has nominated their teams for National Junior College Athletic Association academic team of the year. 

To qualify, all teams nominated must have an overall (GPA) of 3.00 or higher. This year, all six teams achieved that goal. 

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