Set for Fun — CISD Educators Play in Volleyball League
Story by CISD Communications Lead Intern Priyanka Bhutani, a junior at CHS.
Serving with a passion, teachers from CISD recently came together to compete against one another on the volleyball courts to further build authentic relationships and long-lasting memories while having fun. Coppell Middle School North Principal Dr.Greg Axelson came up with the idea of an educator volleyball league in hopes to boost team morale in an engaging and eventful way. Participating schools have teams composed of their staff members, and the teams practice throughout the week in preparation for their games that took place on Thursdays in April.
“Our teachers have worked so hard and accomplished so much over the past two school years under very challenging conditions,” Dr. Axelson said. “We wanted to give them an opportunity to play, laugh and act like kids for a little while.”
The joy and camaraderie that has come from educators participating in these games has truly strengthened staff members both at their homes campuses and from other campuses.
“North really is a village, one giant team already,” said Coppell Middle School North Athletic Coordinator, Abby Martens. “The laughs, failures, victories, and stories we have experienced through this league have only strengthened us and our campus. New friendships have been made, while old ones have strengthened.
Martens added, “A fun memory was ‘talking smack’ to Dr. Cody Koontz, CHS9 Principal, from across the net. He answered me with a kill and some equal banter.”
A little healthy competition is good for the soul, especially when students and staff switch roles. Now reffing the games, current high school volleyball athletes get to officiate the games each week, cheering on their teachers and coaches from the sidelines.
“Many of these girls were North athletes that I coached, so when I would make a mistake they never missed the opportunity to correct me and then laugh,” Martens said.
Each teacher has a specified role on their designated team allowing them to enhance their strengths to build an undefeatable team.
“As a setter, there have been several times when I’ve been able to create opportunities for other people to get big hits or plays,” said Coppell High School AP World History and AP Comparative Government and Politics teacher Shawn Hudson said. “It’s just really rewarding to see other people get excited after setting them up. If I had to pick something specific, I took the first ball and set it directly to Coach Chris Stricker and got a kill, then proceeded to talk smack to the student-athletes who were reffing the game. It was a great play, and the post-kill talk was hilarious.”
On Thursdays, the stands are filled with students, staff members and parents, as they watch their teachers, coaches, and principals play great balls and rallies.
“My favorite memory so far has been watching my colleagues find joy and happiness throughout these games,” said Coppell Middle School North Counselor Kinsey McConnell, who also plays on the team.
“Hands down my favorite memory so far in our volleyball games has been watching Coach Olden Jordan send spikes at the other teams from virtually anywhere on the court,” said Coppell Middle School North Assistant Principal Brandon Girard said.