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Sister act

Felician tradition ends with graduation of last Van Dyke

The Felician softball team has existed since 1997. And for a whopping two-thirds of the program’s history, a member of the Van Dyke family has played second base. The streak slid to an end this year when the youngest of the Van Dyke sisters completed her senior season. 

Halei Van Dyke says softball, a sport she’s played for 16 years, is one of the earliest bonds she shared with her three older sisters, Holly, Heather and Hope. But the women from West Milford, New Jersey, share many. They all chose the same college, led their teams as captains and studied in the education program with the intent to become teachers. “When you have an older sibling, you look up to them and the choices they make,” Halei Van Dyke said. “My sisters always set a good path.” 

The college softball days are over for the Van Dykes, but one more sibling is about to step up to the plate – the baseball plate. Harry Van Dyke plans to attend Richard Stockton.  

Graduating senior Halei Van Dyke, who will complete kindergarten student teaching in the fall, dished on the older sisters whose footsteps she will follow:

Holly

The leadoff hitter for the Van Dyke family, Holly started at second base from 2003 to 2006. “She’s definitely the mom,” Halei said, using the term figuratively and literally, referring to Holly’s toddler son. “She sets the precedent for everything in our lives.”

Heather

The only non-second baseman of the family, Heather played catcher from 2005 to 2008 and is Felician’s all-time hits leader, with 162. “She’s the perfectionist and is good at everything she does,” Halei said. 

Hope

Hope played at second base from 2007 to 2010 and, like Holly, is a kindergarten teacher in West Milford, New Jersey. “She’s the kindest person I know,” Halei said. “She has a heart of gold.” 

Halei 

Halei had to choose between field hockey and softball as a college sport and considered pursuing physical therapy before deciding on the teaching path her sisters had chosen. “I’m definitely the spicy one,” she said.