‘Experience of a lifetime’: Teijema takes Dutch flare to Heartland girls basketball

Local4 News at 10
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 10:58 PM CST
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HENDERSON, Neb. (KSNB) - When Celesta Teijema decided she wanted to join the foreign exchange program and come to the United States from the Netherlands, she knew one thing for certain.

“I told them, ‘I’d rather not go to Nebraska because my brother is there,’” Teijema told Local4 Sports. “And I just wanted a state of my own.”

She ended up in Henderson, Nebraska, anyway.

Yet, while she may have originally craved more independence, her arrival in the small central Nebraskan town has exceeded her expectations.

“I love it here,” Teijema said. “A lot of people always wanted to go to a big school because that’s more of the American Dream, but for me a small school definitely was better.”

Teijema comes from Schagen, Netherlands, a city with just over 46,000 people. Henderson is a town of less than 1,000. She adopted the small-town mentality and went to work on the sport she loves most: Basketball.

She joined the Huskies team and has continued to make a name for herself ever since.

“She has more talent than any other foreign exchange student that I’ve had the ability to coach,” Heartland girls basketball coach Greg Veerhusen said.

Added Huskies’ senior forward Cynthia Cerveny: “I was like, ‘Woah, she’s a lot better than what I expected.’ I think she’s a great addition to our team.”

And with Teijema’s brother attending Nebraska Wesleyan, it provides an opportunity for her to experience the American way of life with a safety net just an hour away. It has been an opportunity that she said she would not trade for anything.

“It’s an experience of a lifetime and to share that with your brother, it’s amazing,” Teijema said.

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