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Lesbian to receive scholastic honor
by Ross Forman

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Jessica Andrasko was shocked, to put it mildly, when her former high school volleyball coach messaged her on Facebook that the school's Hall of Fame committee needed her address.

Andrasko replied, "Are you serious????"

Sure enough, Andrasko, 37, who now lives in Bolingbrook, is being inducted into the Hall of Fame Friday, Oct. 1, at her alma mater, Sweet Home High School, where she graduated in 1991.

"I was completely honored," when informed, she said.

Andrasko played varsity volleyball, basketball and softball all four years in high school, and also played club volleyball for the Cheetah Volleyball Club all four years of high school. And, she was a member of the Empire State Games gold medal team all four years.

"Most people say volleyball was my best sport, but I say I was better at basketball," said Andrasko, who was the leading scorer and rebounder in basketball when she graduated.

And that's just the start of her athletic resume from high school. Just consider some of her accolades:

—First Team All New York State ( volleyball )

—All-State ( basketball, softball )

—All-State All-Star Team ( volleyball, basketball, softball )

—Her volleyball team was ranked in the Top 10 in the nation, and had a 47-1 match record.

Andrasko also was a National Honor Society member, and graduated with honors. She received the Principal's Athletic Award, the William Schwartzman Senior Athlete of the Year award and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce Athlete of the Year award. And she was ranked ninth academically in her graduating class of 309.

" [ The Hall of Fame induction ] means a great deal to me because sports have always been a huge part of my life," Andrasko said. "Playing sports taught me that 'I should never wish I could have, would have or should have done something in my life. No regrets in anything I do and always work my butt off because I may not get that second chance to be in that situation again!'"

In her Hall of Fame speech, Andrasko will thank family, friends and coaches, "because they have molded me through sports to be the woman and athlete that I am today."

Particularly her grandfather, who passed away earlier this year.

"I know he would be so proud," Andrasko said. "My grandma and my grandpa were at every game I ever played in high school and every home game I played in college. He was one of my biggest supporters and I will dedicate my award to him."

Andrasko graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1995, where she played four years of Division I volleyball and one year ( her senior season ) of softball.

She played professional volleyball in Norway for Aukra Volleyball Klubb.

Andrasko is now a science teacher at Romeoville High School, and has been dating Lisa Vander Kooi for almost two years.

Andrasko said she is not sure if her high school knows she is a lesbian, though some former teammates know, "and I'm sure my volleyball coach knows since we are friends on Facebook." She came out after college.

Andrasko moved to Chicago about 13 years ago. She was coaching at Valparaiso University, "and wanted to get out of collegiate coaching, so I moved to the Chicago area and started teaching," she said.

Andrasko played two years for the Chicago Force football team, has played in local gay sports leagues for 11 years, including indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, softball, flag football and dodgeball. She is currently the director for women's indoor volleyball for the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association, and was named CMSA Athlete of the Year. She participated in the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam ( bronze medal in volleyball ) , the 2006 Gay Games Chicago ( volleyball ) , and the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany ( volleyball; lost in the bronze medal match ) . Plus, she plays basketball, softball and volleyball for various leagues in the suburbs, and plays on a traveling tournament softball team based out of the Elgin/St. Charles area.

So what does she do in her free time?

"I enjoy playing golf with my partner and friends," she said.


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