After living in a pandemic and being socially secluded for a year and a half, I feel so excited to see our kids, especially my daughter, back in school playing sports again. To be very honest, I’ve been concerned for our students because of COVID-19, but I think it’s time for them to at least start trying to get involved with sports again and interacting with a community of athletes.
KIPP Heritage Academy in San Jose, California already started their volleyball season and had their first game on September 9th. The coach and teacher for ELAC Ms. Tretinik was really clear with her students as they entered the season, “This season will be about learning. It’ll be about having fun and not about competition because after the pandemic, we all need to learn how to work as a team again.” It’s great to see the girls improving. Everyone gets the opportunity to play, but we also motivate them to be the best they can and, as parents, challenge our kids to improve.
I’m proud to say that the Kipp Heritage Hawks have won 6 out of 7 games this season and made it to the finals. After a rewarding season, I asked Ms. Tretinik about her experience with the team and this is what she had to say:
This is my 3rd year coaching volleyball here at Heritage, although my first year doing it solo. This year felt extra special, considering we just got back to in-person learning. These students were isolated for a year and a half and finally got to experience not only an activity but also the joy of being on a team. I loved seeing their skills grow (and grow they all did), but it was also special to see their communication and camaraderie develop. It was amazing for me to see them celebrate their wins, as well as support each other through their mistakes. I saw 8th graders giving advice to 6th graders during practice and stepping up as role models. I saw all the girls at recess wanting to practice their skills during their break. Throughout the season, practices were a time to play, but also a time to have fun. It provided an outlet for the girls and for myself. With each win, we rejoiced and with the losses (although there were few), we reflected and used it as an opportunity to grow. I treasure my experience as a coach this year because I got to see students explore not only the technical aspects of the sport, but what makes each one of them so unique.
Even before the school year started, I told Ms. Donnelly that we NEEDED to have sports this year. My experiences in the past have shown me how much joy these activities bring players and families alike. After the rough year and a half we had with distanced learning, I knew the students needed something fun to look forward to as they returned to school. As soon as we came back from summer vacation, I made it a priority to work with Ms. Donnelly and Mr. Zhan to make sure that we could safely have a season this fall. If possible, I will definitely be coaching the girl’s team again next year! And there’s also the boy’s volleyball season in March that I look forward to coaching!
As a parent, it’s been special to watch my daughter play volleyball this year and see her connect with her teammates. I’ve loved being on the sidelines, watching games, and connecting with her coach. Comadres, how have your experiences been with seeing your kids participate in school activities again?
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