Samantha Tuuk has a lot of victories under her belt. She’s won on softball and soccer fields, basketball and volleyball courts, and even football fields. Sam recently made history becoming the first female football player in Tinley Park High School history to play and score in a game.
While at CMS, Sam played softball, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. She was also a member of the marching, concert and symphonic bands, and a part of the National Junior Honor Society and Twister Leadership Team.
She has continued her busy schedule at TPHS, playing varsity basketball her freshman and sophomore years, varsity volleyball and varsity soccer all four years, and varsity football her senior year. During her freshman, sophomore and junior years she was also a member of the marching, symphonic, and jazz bands.
Sam is also a Titan Tutor and Student Mentor, and a member of the Speech Teams, National Honor Society, and Leadership Team. In October 2018, Sam visited Fulton School for an assembly in her honor, and to talk to students about her accomplishments. We caught up with Sam as she closes out her senior year at TPHS.
What is one of your best memories from Fulton and CMS?
Being the only 6th grader to make and play on all 4 sports teams.
winning Superstate for band my 7th grade year then leaving to drive two hours for the 3rd place conference game for soccer. I ended up winning Superstate and 3rd place in conference all in the same day.
Do you remember any teachers or staff who had a direct impact on you?
I wish I could name all of my teachers, because they all deserve recognition. I would not be where I am today without them. I have been very close to all of my teachers but here are a few I will never forget...
Mrs. Rudolph, who taught me to push myself no matter how hard a situation or subject may be.
Mrs. Wortel, who made school enjoyable and taught me how to always have a smile on my face.
Mr. Freeland, who made me realize I really can do anything I set my mind to.
Mr. Dexter, who taught me that being a girl has no effect on athletic ability and always challenged me in sports.
Mrs. Wojcik, who made math bearable for me (I HATED math, but man she made it fun).
Mrs. Kressel, who taught me so much about Edgar Allen Poe that it even helped me in high school.
Mr. Jeziorny, who was one of the toughest coaches I have had. The man believed in me, simple as that.
How did you become a member of the TPHS Football Team?
Funny story. I was at TPHS field one day in the summer training for soccer. I was working out and doing my own thing, but I got kicked off of the field because the football team had practice. I stuck around and the kicker, Brett Hudak who also plays for the boys soccer team, asked if I wanted to take a few kicks. So I did. Coach O’Shea saw and made the joke, “Why don’t we just put you in some pads?” So I said, “Let’s do it.” The next few weeks I went to practice and boom, I was on the sideline with the guys for the first Friday night game.
How did it feel to become the first female in TPHS history score in a football game?
It was crazy, but at first it didn’t feel like much. I was so excited to go in and play, but to me it was just another game. I play a lot of sports so I am used to the hype. It did not really impact me until I went to speak at Fulton and I saw the impact I had on the kids. I cried because I was touched by how many of those kids looked up to me.
I don’t look at it as me “making history.” I look at it in a way that I inspired all of those little girls at Fulton. I know how they feel and I know they are counting on me. Being the first female to score is amazing, but I know there will be more to come now that I have “paved the way” a little for TPHS. That’s what I pride myself on.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the person I have become. Throughout this experience not everyone was on my side or supportive. I learned to look past the negativity and just do my own thing. Doing something like breaking social barriers takes a lot of courage. To be honest, when I look back on it...I don’t know how I did it. I just held my head high and kept going.
What are your plans after graduation
I recently committed to Saint Xavier University in Chicago to play soccer and major in Sports Administration. I plan to coach at Legacy Soccer Club, play for Saint Xavier, and continue my education.
What advice would you give current students?
Never give up. I know that seems vague, but it is the best advice I can give because that saying has gotten me through so much.
For those athletes out there, never forget to smile. The game is supposed to be fun so never lose sight of that. In an intense game or a tough loss, a smile can remind you why you play. Love the game, not the outcomes.