Okemos High School Star Alma Cooper More Than An Athlete
Player profile on one of the most dynamic athletes at Okemos High School.
OKEMOS, Mich. - Alma Cooper, a senior at Okemos High School, already has built a strong legacy for herself. The 5-foor-9 senior and a multi-sport athlete isn’t content to rest on her achievements, as she strives to be something bigger than herself every day.
Cooper competes on three varsity sports teams at Okemos; basketball, track, and volleyball. In basketball, she plays forward and sometimes guard; volleyball she plays right side and outside hitter - and all the way around - which means front and back row.
Alma and her parents holding the championship trophy with the final score in the background. This is her favorite memory from high school athletics.
Credit Alma Cooper
Her list of extracurriculars and awards is long: she is the captain of the volleyball and basketball teams, student body representative at Okemos Public Schools Board of Education meetings, all-conference honorable mention in both volleyball and basketball her senior year, all-conference track freshman year, clothing drive director for the non-profit Fashion Hope that works to fight human trafficking, finalist in Pass it Forward award after she presented her efforts for Fashion Hope, district champion in both volleyball and basketball her junior year, runner-up for 2017 Miss Michigan Teen USA, participated in choir/drama for two years, and earning all-state honors for choir and singing in Europe for six weeks with Blue Lakes International Choir.
Whew. Cooper’s next big thing will come in the fall, as she has been accepted for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“The school is definitely challenging but I love a good challenge,” said Cooper. “I think I can grow as an individual and as a leader by attending West Point.
“West Point is so unique, and there is no place like it in the world.”
Cooper will be one of the youngest in the West Point incoming class, because she skipped the third grade. She just turned 17 on March 17. Cooper hasn’t decided on an area of study, but is considering neurology or pediatric medicine.
“I am very passionate about helping and serving others. Right now, I work as a lifeguard and I enjoy it because I feel like I’m serving my community,” said Cooper.
Cooper transferred from Mason High to Okemos during her sophomore year. She felt Mason wasn’t the right fit for her, as Cooper was looking for a school that would allow her to establish herself in the classroom and on the court. Cooper wanted to feel recognized and was struggling - she did not feel comfortable at Mason.
“This transition and turning point in high school allowed me to find myself. I was given greater opportunities and better treatment. I maintained the same work ethic and skill level. I just found myself more comfortable,” said Cooper.
This time in Cooper’s life was hard, but having a strong family support system made it a little bit easier. Her family has made a big impact on the person she is today.
While Cooper was transitioning from Mason to Okemos, her grandmother passed away. Cooper promised her grandmother she would accomplish big things: attending a prestigious college, majoring in biology, and being a part of something bigger than herself. One piece of advice from her grandmother was to never give up and always treat people with respect.
“My parents also have had a huge impact in my life. They have never given up on me and have always supported me. They always know what to say when I need guidance and they also have a lot of confidence in my abilities which inspires me to keep up my efforts and strive for greater things,” said Cooper.
Cooper’s mother ran track at Idaho State University and was an All-American in high school. And Cooper’s father served 24 years in the Army and retired as a Major.
“At no point did my parents ever pressure me into attending one university over another. They have always been very supportive of my decisions in regards to college,” said Cooper.
Another important person in Cooper’s life is her sister Brooke, who is 22 and is cognitively impaired. While her dad was deployed, even as a younger sister, she helped Brooke take her medicine, made sure she was eating, and helped with anything else that was needed.
“In doing this, I became closer with my sister and it has made our bond unique to us,” said Cooper.
Okemos junior shooting guard Maddie Sermak described Cooper as outgoing, energetic, and hard working.
“Alma is very uplifting and a spirited teammate. She really helps our team bond together. She is very encouraging and the team chemistry would be so different without her,” said Sermak.