A victim of the downturn in the economy five years ago, Janet Steckel made sure that getting laid off from her full-time job had no impact on her only son, Logan.
At the time, Logan was in his sophomore year at Red Lion Christian School. Raised in a Christian household, Logan had attended Red Lion Christian since kindergarten. With Logan's father, now 67, retired from working for MACK trucks, Janet's income was still needed so Logan could continue to go to class at Red Lion Christian.
"She was working two jobs and putting in a good 60 or 70 hours a week while I was in high school," Logan Steckel said. "That's what really made me strive to work hard."
That last sentence could apply to just about any aspect of Steckel's life, whether it be his many past accomplishments or his currently overloaded schedule of work, classes and basketball.
Basketball: The 5-foot, 11-inch guard plays with a fearless aggression, attacking much-taller forwards and centers before putting the ball up off the glass or dishing it to a teammate. He fits the fast-paced, run-the-floor-first style that Penn State York coach Parrish Petry likes to employ. It also makes you wonder if Steckel, who lives in York City with his mother and father, would've fit into the up-tempo style at York High, had he gone to public school.
"Oh, yeah," Steckel answers. "I knew some of the kids that played there. I grew up with (former York High boys' basketball standout) Collin Smith. Me and him played together (in the offseason) since seventh or eighth grade."
Steckel, though, much enjoyed the fact he gave Red Lion Christian some of its best years as a program, leading the team to the 2011 Keystone Christian Education Association championship game as a senior before graduating in a class of a whopping 14 students. Steckel left as the all-time leading scorer in York County high school history with 2,803 career points.
PSY: Like he did at Red Lion Christian, Steckel is now helping the Penn State York men's basketball program reach new heights. Following a redshirt season as a freshman in 2011-12 to recover from a slight meniscus tear in his left knee and tendonitis in his right knee, Steckel last year became one of the team's leading scorers, pumping in 12.9 points a game and helping the Lions capture the program's first Penn State University Athletic Conference title.
"Well, in high school I always wanted to make a name for Red Lion Christian. I think I kind of did. I feel the same at Penn State York," Steckel said. "I really want to make the program succeed. I love Coach Petry. And the assistant coach (Alex Knox) is more of a friend than a coach."
Hard worker: Steckel is currently averaging a team-leading 20.9 points per game for the undefeated Yorkers (9-0 overall, 4-0 conference). His improvement is all the more impressive considering the limited time he has had to practice between working three jobs during the summer and a pair of part-time jobs during the school year while taking five classes. The communications major does so partly to help his parents -- his mom has been working full-time for York Waste the last four years -- offset tuition costs and because he doesn't want to graduate with a ton of college loan debt. To most, Steckel's workload sounds ridiculous. To Steckel, he just wants to make proud a selfless mother who has busted her tail for her family.
"That's where it (my work ethic) comes from," he said.
--Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.