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Dawson County and beyond
S-Melanie Rimawi MUG
Melanie Rimawi - photo by For the Dawson County News

Over the next couple of weeks, the Dawson County News is going to feature a few of Dawson County High School's former students who have gone on to compete at the collegiate level in their sport. It is a chance to see how things have gone since they graduated and what moving on to that next adventure really means.

Melanie Rimawi is a 2016 DCHS grad who signed in April of last year to run cross country for Piedmont College.

Rimawi recently took time to answer some questions about this next stage of life and athletics:

How has your athletic career been so far at Piedmont?
It has been unbelievable, from the team to the coach, it has been a whirlwind of joy and excitement. We were the U.S.A. South 2016 champions for conference, and I received the All-Sportsmanship Team award. I was rewarded with making the USA South All-Academic team as well.

What were your expectations versus what has happened?
I honestly didn't know what to expect, so I went into the season with an open mind.

How difficult is it to manage your schedule with classes and athletics?
It's not as hard as it seems. The coach worked around each athlete's schedule, which let my mind rest at ease. The only time athletics and school got in the way was when we traveled to meets where we had to stay overnight. How you manage your schedule is up to the student, and being a procrastinator towards academics will more than likely leave you with taking homework to your games. From personal experience, I once tried it, and my homework did not get done...

What is the atmosphere like at the collegiate level versus high school level?
Playing at a division III school is like playing for Dawson County High School, but I feel that it truly depends on the coaching received when entering college from the college coach. Academics become a larger priority since they determine whether you can participate with the team and keep your scholarship money.

What about the level of competition?
The level of competition varies from person to person and from coach to coach.

How did your experience at Dawson County impact your collegiate career?
The coaches from Dawson County gave me the push and encouragement to continue to grow and improve in cross country, and I believe that can be seen through any athlete leaving Dawson County who decides to keep playing a sport into college.

Would you change anything if you could? If so, what?
I would change the preparation given to me from the high school when making the decision to attend college. I personally felt almost unprepared and overwhelmed. I lacked knowledge that many high schools had taught their future college students.

What has been the best part of your time at Piedmont?
The best part would have to be the new friends I made from the team and classes I've attended. They are such supportive and driven people who have such stunning personalities and opinions. They have given me the opportunity to share thousands of laughable moments to stressful moments. My teammates were more than I could've asked for, and they gave me memories that I will remember forever. Also, the education program at Piedmont is wonderful, and it was more helpful having education majors as my teammates as well.

What are you studying?
I am studying to receive a degree in Early Childhood Education, and I am still debating to push to minor in business.

What would you like to do when you graduate?
I would love to receive a job opportunity from Dawson County to teach in the schools.

Do you get back to Dawsonville much?
I was so busy during the first semester of college from cross country that I decided to quit track and field before the second semester started. After I quit, I came home every weekend and almost one day during the weekday.

Do you miss it?
I always believed Dawson County was small, but I now live in Demorest, which is beyond smaller. I said I wouldn't miss being home, but I miss it.

What is the off-season like for you?
Running really doesn't have an "off-season," but we receive a month off during December. Honestly, the "off-season" was just my Christmas break.

What are your career goals?
My career goals are to become a teacher where I can give my future students support and encouragement for their growing minds. I want school to have good memories, not frustrating ones. After a few years, I plan to hopefully operate my own daycare for newborns to five years old, and I know that might change if I find my calling only in an elementary classroom.