RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — In the Catholic classroom, the beach volleyball player learned the value of discipline and humility.

Olympian Maria Elisa Antonelli, 28, credits her Salesian education as teaching her valuable lessons and recognizing her potential.

“I received some very good lessons about life, and I learned how to be a professional player at school,” she said during a 2010 visit to her school, the Salesian St. Joseph Institute in Resende, where she also spoke of the values she learned.

“It’s a different sort of school, offering the students a privileged path, and it was there that I first began playing volleyball,” she said. “I’m very proud and grateful for all those who have been and are part of my development in volleyball. If I have got where I am, I owe a lot to the Salesians, and now I count on all their support.”

Antonelli’s spot on Brazil’s Olympic roster was officially announced at a late-June news conference in Rio de Janeiro. She will partner with Talita Antunes da Rocha. In pre-Olympic rankings, they were fifth in the world.

In an interview on the site of the St. Joseph Institute, Antonelli said: “I watched the Beijing Olympics from the couch. This year I am taking part! I am among the best in Brazil, so it is a great joy but also a great responsibility, in that it is not just I and Talita, but we are representing our country in the most important of international sports competitions,” she said.

Her remarks were reprinted in an article by the Salesian Info Agency, ANS.