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Lapel Elementary School teacher stars on basketball court for Anderson University

LAPEL, Ind. (WISH)– Lexi Dellinger is the leading scorer for the Anderson University women’s basketball team, currently averaging 20 points a game. But to Dellinger, the most rewarding part of her day comes before she ever hits the floor.

It’s 7:30 in the morning on a Thursday and Lexi Dellinger is preparing for her fifth grade class at Lapel Elementary School. It’s her first year teaching after graduating from Anderson University.

“I’ve kind of got myself in a good routine so I do specific things on specific days so I don’t cram it all in one day,” Dellinger said.

Dellinger knew early on in her life she wanted to be a teacher. Her mom passed away when she was in the fourth grade. Her teachers stepped in and made an impact on her life — one she wanted to pay forward.

“Those teachers weren’t just there for me in the classroom, they were there for me no matter what, and I could still go to them today and they’d be there for me,” Dellinger said.

Like most teachers, her day doesn’t end when the bell rings. Lexi is a fifth-year senior basketball star at Anderson University, all while also pursuing her MBA from Anderson. Her drive to teach, study and play got her the job, according to Lapel’s principal, Joe Bowman.

“I think for her to be a role model, as a student-athlete, she is on tv, she is someone that someone’s looking to, to say, ‘Hey, she’s a teacher and she’s a teacher at Lapel Elementary, I want to be that,’” Bowman said.

From whiteboard to backboard, Dellinger travels for away games and makes it back to teach the next day.

“It is a lot, especially because our games are at 7 p.m. I get here at 7:30 in the morning, so it’s crazy. I’m nonstop all the time. But I like it; it’s rewarding. I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Dellinger said.

Dellinger happens to do it all really well. She is the front-runner for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference player of the year award and, this season, she became the all-time leading scorer in Anderson University history.

“She’s everything we want in a student-athlete, you know what I mean? To see her (set the scoring record) in front of her home crowd, in front of her teammates…everyone wanted her to have that special moment and I think she’s gonna have another special moment when she surpasses 2,000 points here as a Raven,” Jon Gin, Dellinger’s head coach at Anderson, said. “It’s fun to be a part of the big milestones and I’m glad I got to coach her for two years.”

Dellinger doesn’t know how long her records will last, but she knows her relationships with her students will last a lifetime.

“At the end of the day, if my students know that they are loved, and they know they have somebody they can go talk to, that’s the biggest lesson they can learn in my class,” Dellinger said.

A sign welcoming students to Ms. Dellinger’s classroom. (WISH Photo)