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Game Plan: Balancing high school sports, academics, extracurriculars

Taking a quick look at Annie Flory's schedule will make one ask the question: How the heck does a student-athlete manage their time?

CEDAR HILL, Texas – Academics come first for Annie Flory, a senior at Cedar Hill High School.

She's the projected class valedictorian with scholarship offers to Baylor, Trinity and Texas A&M.

But, Annie is no one-trick-pony.

She has five of them.

Annie takes care of five horses from dusk ‘til dawn, and she competes in barrel racing with four of them during the year.

When Annie is not horsin' around, you can find her catching some rays…as the starting catcher for the Cedar Hill softball team.

Yeah, that's a lot of responsibility. But, there's no need for the world's smallest violin…because she plays a real one in her school orchestra.

Annie is also president of the school’s National Honor Society, president of the rodeo club (she’s the only member), she’s on student council and she’s involved with her church.

Simply put… How?

“Sleep is optional,” she joked.

“At first, it started as a résumé-builder. I'm going to be honest. That's what you do it for. Eventually, I stuck with it and I'm like, ‘I really love this.”

According to her mother, Polly, Annie was exposed to various activities when she was young, which helped instill time management skills.

“If they've committed to it upfront, then you hold them to it and you hold them accountable from a very young age,” Polly said.

As a result, kids have a better understanding of managing their time once they reach high school and college.

But, not every student is like Annie, and, sometimes, being over-involved becomes overwhelming.

Here are some helpful tips from Cedar Hill guidance counselor SaLillian McDaniel:

“We talk about prioritizing. What's the major focus right now? What's the most pressing and let's focus on that.”

“Making sure they're maximizing their downtime, so when it comes down to that deadline, they're not as stressed."

“Don’t procrastinate!”

Elena Hicks is the Dean of Admission at SMU. She believes parents play a key role in helping their children handle multiple activities with poise.

“Parents are some of the greatest support systems that we will ever have,” Hicks said. “Parents can help students know that when things get frenzied and maybe crazy in their lives, just to breathe and to know that it will all work out right."

You may be wondering, does Annie feel burned out with a few months before graduation?

“I thought I would, beginning of my senior year. I was like, ‘I don't know how I'm going to finish this year.’ And now, we're almost done with it, and it's going OK," she said.

“She's very happy,” Polly said with a smile. “And, as long as she's thriving and successful at all that she does, and all that she wants to do, I'm going to support her."

Annie now has her sights set on becoming a pediatrician for children with special needs.