The fall season was filled with exciting soccer games and tennis matches.  Our Youth Swimming club had over 30 participants, and the new Fencing Club was filled to capacity with 14 participants.  These things aside, at the core of each season is the opportunity for our students to participate and have fun.  Each year we have new students in our school, and sports are a wonderful way for them to acclimate to the school environment at Harrisburg Academy.  Whether from Norway, Spain or a local school district, joining a team in August establishes a place for students to feel a belonging to a smaller group outside of their class and can set the tone for the new academic year.

As Harrisburg Academy’s director of athletics, I wanted to know just how the students felt… so I set out to interview each one to find out about his or her experience.  First, I spoke to two new students, both in 6th grade, who joined our Middle School Boys’ Soccer team.  “I was surprised how welcoming everyone was, and meeting my teammates before school started made me feel more comfortable,” said Alex R.

His teammate, Levi K., also felt more comfortable as a new student and enjoyed getting to know boys in other grades.  “Having not played in a while, I felt that it helped that the coaches were encouraging and supportive.  I felt that my best moment this season was when I prevented a ball from going into the goal with a header,” said Levi.

The Boys’ Varsity Soccer team welcomed Markus L. ’17 from Norway.  “From my perspective, it was important for me to be on the team to maintain my current form,” he said.  “I met a lot of new people when I started playing.  Since I am new, this helped me a lot before the school started.”

Maria S. ’18, from Spain, was quick to point out that playing soccer this fall gave her the opportunity to develop friendships on the Varsity Girls’ Soccer team and to then be with her friends in school (in Spain, students play on community teams, not school-sponsored teams).  “It also made me less nervous to begin the school year knowing the girls on the team, and I was glad to get a lot of playing time in each game,” she added.

Sometimes I think we take for granted how easy it should be to join new groups, but that is not always the case.  I continue to be inspired by our teams and coaches being the “welcome place” for many of our students.

Learn more about Harrisburg Academy on our school website.