Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PC visits Eric Carle Museum exhibition

Paris, New York, Boston...Smith College, Harvard, and Columbia. All points on the map that our intrepid cohort of high school youth coaches have paid visits to in recent years as they explore new countries, colleges, and cultures. And yet Wednesday's visit to the Eric Carle Museum marked the first time that we have embarked upon a field trip designed specifically for our younger program participants - 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Gerena School.

In keeping with this year's focus on pivotal role-models in sports - such as Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson, and Roberto Clemente - students were given the opportunity to learn more about the impact that the Negro Leagues had on the American sport landscape, and society as a whole. After viewing a presentation of Ken Burns' seminal Baseball series, students explored a dynamic exhibit of vibrant oil paintings that brought the stars of this often-forgotten generation of ball players to life. Legends such as Satchel Paige and the enigmatic catcher Josh Gibson - widely considered among the greater players of their generation, regardless of color, fascinated students, who were particularly captivated by Studs Turkel's analysis that "Gibson wasn't the black Babe Ruth...Ruth was the white Josh Gibson", and stories of Paige's fastball (famously referred to as "The Midnight Rider")!

As students took in the artwork, they were asked to consider which paintings best illustrated important themes such as "dignity", "prejudice" and "pride", and then even got the chance to make their own sketches of the artwork.

Our sincere thanks go to Billy McBride from the board of directors of the museum, Greg Rosnick, and Principal Diane Gagnon for providing this wonderful opportunity for our students, as well as the Gerena PC teaching team for sharing this great day with our kids!

Friday, April 6, 2012

PC youth meet Title IX activist and Supreme Court victor

Thursday 5th April, 2012 - Western New England University.

Earlier this evening, Coaches Efrain, Priscilla, Yesenia, and Josh paid a visit to Western New England University to meet with legendary high school coach Roderick Jackson, as invited guests of Professor Curt Hamakawa - Director of WNEU's Center for International Sport Business.

At a specially arranged interview session prior to Coach Jackson's public appearance, all four coaches were able to direct their questions at a man who's leadership and courage paved the way for greater implementation of the seminal Act, after a continued struggle to gain equality for the girl's high school basketball team that he coached in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Despite being unsuccessful at both the district and circuit court level, Coach Jackson failed to be deterred, and successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to hear his case in 2004, before being awarded a 5-4 decision in his favor in 2005.

Central to Jackson's case lay the fact that - despite the 1972 passage of Title IX legislation - the girl's team that he coached was forced to play in an inferior gym, practice with deficient equipment, and were not afforded the opportunity to raise funds in the same way as their male counterparts. Fed up with the injustices that he perceived, Jackson took his fight to the courts, despite being fired for being prepared to buck the system that had existed for decades.

PC coaches asked a series of thoughtful questions during their private audience with Coach Jackson, and were able to use his responses and ideas to help frame their own concepts of what leadership looks like -- central to a current Project Coach media initiative that will see each coach create a video detailing their growth within the program, and their own individual definition of success as a leader.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Taking the next steps - college and beyond

On Saturday, March 31, 2012, Joe Wray, Tom Messinger and Greg Rosnick headed east to Beantown for a day of college visits.  Joe Wray, a veteran coach here at Project Coach, was recently accepted to a host of schools in the region, and before he decided on where he would be studying next year, it was important to get out and see the schools one last time.

The morning started with a tour of the beautiful Mount Ida College campus in Newton, Mass.  Because the weather was a bit dreary, the campus was a little quiet as many students sought refuge in their dorms and the nearby academic buildings.  As we strolled around campus, we almost had the place to ourselves.  Joe was very impressed with the physical beauty of the campus and if he goes there, he may be interested in studying a program within Mount Ida’s School of Business.

After a nice tour of campus, Joe, Greg, and Tom headed downtown to grab a bite to eat and stroll around the Boston Common.  By this point, the wind had really picked up and the lingering winter cold forced the three to head out of the city center a bit earlier than expected.  So after a short lunch break, they made their way to Newbury College, which is just minutes outside of downtown Boston in the picturesque suburb of Brookline, Mass.

Because of our timing, the stay at Newbury was much shorter.  The three Project Coach representatives walked around and talked to a few students and staff.  However, because there were no tours at this time of day, their stay at the school was quite limited.

Overall, it was a very positive day for Joe, who will be forced to make a very important decision sometime in the next few weeks.

Everyone at Project Coach is proud of Joe’s transformation over the past few years and we look forward to supporting him as he makes these exciting decisions for his future.