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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Siblings support each other on field and in classroom

Tuesday, February 26, 2008  
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By Tiffany Sherman Most college students must make new friends and find a new family away from home. For Oklahoma Christian University seniors Allissa (Harper) Hejl and freshman Ryan Harper, they have support that many students don't. These siblings have the support of each other through thick and thin. Hejl majors in biology at Oklahoma Christian, but softball brought her to the university. Now in her fourth season, she has no regrets making it her home. "I came to OC to visit for softball and I loved it here," Hejl said. "I also had some church friends that came here." Harper came to Oklahoma Christian in 2006 to help set up the new baseball program. Ryan, a double major in marketing and vocational ministry, didn't know where he wanted to go to school, but knew that he wanted to be close to his sister. "When I was looking at colleges, I really didn't see myself going to a college as small as OC," Harper said. "Allissa is the reason that I looked at OC, and when I found out that I would be able to help start a baseball program, I was sold." Harper and Hejl are originally from Texas. When their parents moved to Edmond in 2007, it brought them and their entire family closer together. Their parents are constantly on the go with two athletes to watch. "My parents said that because it is my senior year they are going to try to make it to a majority of my games, but they might have to split up sometimes," Hejl said. "And if we are both home, then they can just sit on the hill between the two fields and watch us both." Hejl has the support of her little brother during her senior year this season. "I hope that my parents get to see my sister play for her senior year," Harper said. "This is her last year and I would hope they could be a part of that." Growing up, Hejl and Harper used sports to grow closer to each other. "We are only two years apart and we both love sports so we spent a lot of time playing outside and growing up together," Hejl said. These two have more in common than sports. Outside of softball and baseball, Hejl and Harper try to be there for each other both academically and spiritually. "It's great to have someone that knows stuff and is able to help you know what to expect," Harper said. "Whether it's what professors I should choose, how to approach studying for a class, or even how to balance school, club and baseball." When they aren't busy with club activities, practicing or working on school, they enjoy making time for each other. "We actually don't get to hang out near as much as we would like sometimes between practice, games and school," Hejl said. "But we like to go out as an entire family on Sundays after church and just enjoy being with each other." Coming to Oklahoma Christian is something they have in common, but it has also allowed them to become closer. Like most siblings, growing up was full of petty fights and arguments, most of the time over nothing important. After coming to Oklahoma Christian, Hejl and Harper's relationship has grown in a way that neither would have expected, but both love. "My brother and I have a great relationship," Hejl said. "We used to fight all the time over stupid things like toys, video games and television but we have both grown and matured. We now are quite the devilish team and now we gang up on our parents, it's great." Nothing will ruin the relationship that Hejl and Harper have built during their time at Oklahoma Christian. "I really love my sister," Harper said. "She has set an incredible example and carries herself well as a Christian, friend and athlete." The support that Hejl and Harper have for each other has helped them grow as ahtletes, students and Christians. With the support from each other and from their parents, they will continue to grow.

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