Traveling Van Sant’s: Faith, Family, Farm, Football

It’s not uncommon for siblings to carpool to and from high school but one far west Valley families’ five-day-a-week commute stretches farther than a trip from Phoenix to Tucson.

Van Sant boys in carEach weekday morning Andrew, William, Eddie and Daniel load up the well-traveled, family SUV and trek from the farmlands of Tonopah to the north Valley to attend classes and play football at Northwest Christian High School.

The two-way trip stretches 120 miles.

“My parents figured that we wanted a Christian education,” oldest brother and NCHS senior Andrew Van Sant said to “They found that at Northwest Christian. They chose to send us here despite the drive.”

Andrew in loaderBeing in motorized vehicles has never been a problem for the Van Sant boys who were raised on their parent’s farm, helping develop and cultivate both land and animals, as dairy farmers when not in school or on the gridiron for the Crusaders.

“They all grew up on the farm driving at a young age,” Scott Van Sant, the boy’s father, said to “Getting them [to school] wasn’t a big concern, I was more concerned about the other drivers.”

To the Van Sant’s the weekday trek, which typically takes well over two hours of their day, is more of a bonding experience than a burden, sharing these life experiences together as a close-knit family.

kids in car 4“We talk about all kinds of things,” junior William Van Sant said to “School, homework, whatever is going on. Now that I drive, I drive to school everyday. Andrew drives home.”

“We learn a lot about each other,” sophomore Eddie Van Sant explained to “Strengths, weaknesses. What we enjoy. It’s actually great. They become your best friends. There’s no one you’re closer to than your brothers.”

Part of that special bond was formed working under the desert sun helping any and all aspects of running the farm.

The Van Sant foursome view their agricultural expertise as a badge of honor.

cows“Being a dairy farmer is part of a special community,” Andrew said. “I know other people who are dairy farmers and it’s like an extended second family.”

Minus the four sibling, two-plus hour commute.

Which has worked out just fine to this point.

“Andrew’s been driving a couple hundred thousand miles now,” Scott explained with a sly grin. “Only been stopped once.”