In late May 2021, Richard Sterck was one of several parents inquiring about The Rock School. His sons were looking for a basketball experience similar to the one they had enjoyed at St. Louis Christian Academy.
The school and program they loved in St. Louis, Mo., was shutting down and the family needed a new place to help guide Evan, an eighth grader at the time, and Jacob, a sophomore, to success on the floor and off.
A Leap of Faith
The head coach at St. Louis Christian told them to contact Coach Harden in Gainesville, Fla. — 885 miles from St. Louis.
After a brief introduction and some simple pleasantries, Richard and Coach Harden set a date for the family to travel and visit The Rock. After that trip, they committed to coming — but not just the boys, as is customary with many higher-level prep school programs and athletes around the country.
In fact, the whole family would uproot from St. Louis and move to Gainesville. A big move both literally and figuratively.
Getting Down to Business
Richard had owned and operated a successful catering business before moving to Gainesville. What would he do upon arriving in a new community?
The answer: Open a deli.
The Paper Bag launched in 2022 in southwest Gainesville, just over three miles from The Rock School. Richard aimed to serve fresh, delicious sandwiches and salads that would reinvigorate the deli concept for folks in Gainesville.
In just over a year, the deli has earned countless rave reviews and a 4.8 rating on Yelp. The Paper Bag is capitalizing on the momentum and opening a second location in downtown Gainesville thanks to the restaurant’s southwest success.
Making a Name for Himself
But the Stercks’ success is not limited to a delicatessen. Evan, the younger of the Sterck brothers, created his own “delicious creation” on the basketball court.
The four-star point guard has received offers from several universities around the country and interest from many more, including high-major programs like Florida, Virginia Tech, and Purdue.
Sterck, now a junior, has already led The Rock to an SIAA State Championship as a freshman and was named the team’s MVP as a sophomore.
Evan demonstrated his knack for playing better in big games by draining six 3-pointers en route to a 26-point performance in the 2022 state semifinals to help The Rock overcome an 18-point halftime deficit. He then followed that up with 22 points and 10 assists in the championship game to secure The Rock’s fourth state championship and third in the last five seasons.
Success Runs in the Family
The success of the Sterck family has been obvious to many, but it seems that there is still more to come for both Richard and Evan.
The Paper Bag will deliver high-quality sandwiches to customers all around Gainesville, just like Evan will surely drop top-tier performances on courts throughout the country on the road to yet another championship.