APA's Cervantes sings National Anthem before home volleyball games
APA’s Gisell Cervantes sings the National Anthem before Tuesday’s win against Grace Christian. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
Arendell Parrott Academy is now 2-0 when Gisell Cervantes sings the National Anthem at home.
The junior showcased her talent athletically last season, helping the Patriots win their first state championships in volleyball and soccer. Now, as APA hopes to repeat, she’s able to showcase another great ability.
“I always sang at a young age,” Cervantes said. “My dad really influenced me and I would always sing in the locker room, playing around.”
The concept of singing the National Anthem didn’t register until recently when APA coach David Barnes happened to hear her recently before a practice.
“One day, I was in the lobby and I heard her singing,” Barnes said. “She didn’t know I was nearby and later I told her ‘well, good — now you’re singing the National Anthem before every game.’ I did ask her if she wanted to, she said ‘yes’ and she’s done a great job.”
Barnes also had high praise for Cervantes’ play on the court as well.
“She’s been a great back row defender and is great with her serves, which is what you want from a libero,” Barnes said. “She’s been the perfect defensive specialist.”
Cervantes sang for the first time at the school on Oct. 1 before a critical game against Cary Christian. The Patriots fell to the Knights on Sept. 19, but rebounded nicely in a straight sets win.
“Coach told me he wanted me to sing before the game and I just went out there,” Cervantes said. “My teammates encouraged me to do it and I knew the words of the National Anthem, so I sang and was pretty confident about it.”
The Patriots don’t have any more regular-season home games, but Cervantes said she has no problem singing for the playoffs.
“I’ll be ready,” Cervantes said with a smile.