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EPISD's First Student Profile of 2021-22 features military student who enjoys giving back and excels at hockey


(ROSS MIDDLE SCHOOL -- Aug. 19, 2021) — Ross Middle School’s Joey Gross may only be in seventh grade, but the military family member already is making a difference in his adopted community and knows what he wants to do when he grows up. Joey, who found a home with the El Paso Rhino’s Pee Wee Hockey Team — where he excels on the ice and helps younger hockey players — sat down virtually with the Office of Community Engagement and is the first EPISD Student Profile of the 2021-22 school year!

EPISD: Tell us about your passion for hockey.

JOEY GROSS: I started playing hockey in Colorado and immediately knew that I found my favorite sport. Hockey is an amazing sport where players must balance strength, agility, focus and skill all while skating on a 1/8-inch-wide piece of steel. My goal this year is to be the absolute best teammate and leader. I have played center and forward.

EPISD: How do you balance school with hockey?

JG: School comes first. I make sure all my work is done prior to practice and what I don’t finish, I wake up early and make sure gets completed. Usually, I finish before practice.

EPISD: How did you get involved in Raise up the Bar and what do you enjoy about it?

JG: I started last year and enjoyed the work outs. I enjoy being active and enjoy working out. The activities differ each day which helps keep us focused and guessing.

EPISD: Tell us about your commitment to giving back to the community.

JG: My parents always tell me how important it is to give back to the community and others whenever you can. I like volunteering with the Rhinos to help younger players understand the game. I also like to volunteer at the food pantry and other places because it helps people out.

EPISD What’s it like to be a military family member?

JG: Being a military student is very tough. We usually stay a year or two and then we have to move again. I have moved about five times and each time while it gets easier, it’s always hard to leave friends. But, that’s also a positive. I have a lot of friends across the country.

EPISD: Will you be staying in El Paso for high school?

JG: Unfortunately, no, we will leave again next year and then my dad will retire probably in Kentucky.

EPISD: What do you want to be when you grow up?

JG: I would like to play in the National Hockey League, but being a referee or a physical therapist are my two focus areas.