Jen Solberg was a star on the Centralia College Lady Blazer basketball team that got the first women’s team banner hoisted in the college gym. She played on teams (2002-05) that placed higher in the conference than any other Centralia College women’s team.
She remembers those accomplishments and the way the college helped prepare her for life after graduation. “Centralia College offered me a scholarship and that made a tremendous difference. It was that scholarship and the opportunity to play basketball that brought me here,” she said. It was the friendships she built and the support from the college that helped her succeed on and off the basketball court. “The relationships with team members was really important. It was exciting,” said Solberg.
The former star was honored this past winter quarter when she was one of two individuals inducted into the college Sports Hall of Fame. “I very much appreciated the honor and the recognition,” said Solberg. “It is something that means a lot to me but so much of what I was able to do was because of the members of my team. They all helped make our successes possible.”
Solberg said that playing basketball was a big part of her life but she knew that the education she received was also important. She is currently planning to get to work on a master’s degree and is planning to get involved in social work. “Decisions will come. I know that I really love working with kids and I’m excited about the challenge of working with troubled youth. It’s important for me to help others.” Sounds like she has a clear idea of where she wants to take her career. Her Centralia College experience laid a foundation of support.
“There’s no doubt that Centralia College was very helpful. I knew that I’d get the help I needed from my teachers. The support they provide is huge,” said Solberg. The small school atmosphere — one that features faculty and staff who are friendly and willing to help — were important to Solberg. “This is something that helped me meet more people and make lasting friends,” she said.
While she is quick to give credit to faculty who have nurtured her as she accomplished her classroom studies, she gave credit to Dr. Jim Walton, college president, and Steve Ward, vice president for Finance and Administration for their support. “They came to the games and encouraged us as individuals and as a team. They knew who I was and asked how I was doing. These things made a difference,” Centralia College has made a difference in her life, she said. And that’s just another part of what makes Centralia College a special place.