By Jenelyn Russo     11/28/2015

When Leeyen Peralta arrived on the Cornelia Connelly School campus this fall as a freshman, she had a very specific goal in mind when it came to her chosen sport of golf.

“People always think that since Connelly is a small school, we’re not that great,” says Peralta. “I was hoping to change that and make sure Connelly golf is on the radar.”

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And Peralta has done just that. After being winless the last two seasons, the freshman varsity golfer helped lead the Koalas to a 5-3-1 record this year for a fourth place finish in the Del Rey League. Individually, Peralta also finished fourth in the league and was named First Team All League.

“Leeyen has been a tremendous help to our golf program,” says Connelly’s head golf coach Mathew Tom. “She is an amazing golfer with a lot of natural talent.

“As a person, she’s extremely supportive of her teammates, always cheering and encouraging them. She’s easygoing and calm, but has that killer instinct deep down inside. Even though she’s only a freshman, she conducted herself quite well this year.”

Peralta was about 9 years old when she started golfing, having been introduced to the sport through a group class her parents enrolled her in, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Her favorite aspects of golf involve improving the details of her game and encouraging her teammates to become better players. But even with her talent, Peralta has faced some challenges in the sport.

“I lost a little bit of motivation when I was playing,” says the 14-year-old. “So I played with my friends leisurely, then after that I got back into the game.”

A sport known for its etiquette and fairness, golf has taught Peralta plenty of life lessons that she can take with her off the course.

“Golf has taught me to be a good leader and to be honest about everything,” says Peralta. “Whatever you do on the course, it translates to your everyday life. If you’re not honest on the course, then you’re probably not honest in real life.”

Outside of golfing, Peralta is involved in the Robotics Club and the Film Club on campus and has spent several years competing in taekwondo.

She may only be in her first year of high school, but Peralta has her sights set on playing golf at the collegiate level. The Brea resident also plans on using her skills to someday inspire other kids to pick up a golf club and give the sport a try.

Grateful to her parents for believing in her and for her faith that keeps her focused, Peralta is confident that God will guide her steps.

“Whatever happens, God has a plan,” says Peralta, “no matter what, even if it’s good or bad. So don’t stress over it.”