Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

A Home Remedy.(Final)

Byline: Randy Harrison Journal Staff Writer

* The basketball standout finds an outlet for his calling at Hope Christian

Sometimes, sports play a role in keeping kids in high school. In 18-year-old Blake Harden's case, they were the only reason he ever started.

Otherwise, graduation would have been not from his eventual alma mater, Hope Christian, but from Mark and Evonne Harden's home school for their children.

A closing ceremony will be held Saturday at the Hardens' East Mountain home for sister Megan, 17. She'll be the third name on the school's alumni ledger, joining older siblings Jesse and Allison.

"My parents felt home-schooling is what they were called to do for all the kids," says Blake, who did it either part time or full time through his sophomore year.

"It made my life different from the typical high school athlete. But the Lord definitely blessed us through it."

Part of the blessing was the parents' flexibility in light of Blake's intense interest in basketball, especially in playing collegiately, and the exposure necessary for him to get that chance.

Otherwise, the Journal's Male Prep Athlete of the Year for 2002-03 also might have become the Best Teen Athlete Nobody Ever Heard Of.

Instead, sports lured Harden to Temple Baptist, where he played basketball from seventh grade through his sophomore year and even tried one season of baseball.

Sports compelled him to transfer to Hope, where the lanky 6-foot, 4-inch, 190-pounder had heaps of success as the top player on state championship basketball teams as a junior and senior.

Harden also was a two-time Class 2A high-jump champion and helped the Huskies win their first team title at the state track-and-field meet.

"I've been here 20, 21 years, and it's hard to compare other players. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.