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Cap & Gown: Ravens Reflect

Ravens Reflect on Growing Through Sports

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We asked four student-athletes from the Class of 2020 which lessons they’ve learned from Ravenscroft coaches over the years resonate most with them now, at their graduation. Here’s what they had to say.

 


 

“Your legacy is defined not by a set of numbers”

It’s easy to focus on the numbers in sports: how many points or goals scored, how many turnovers allowed, how many 50-50 balls won, how many games lost. These numbers are important, as they allow athletes to evaluate and improve their performances. However, at the end of my high school career, I see these numbers slipping away — while other memories remain more prominent.

My memories of celebrating playoff wins, Saturday morning practice shenanigans and beating rival teams are clearer now than ever. Similarly, more emotional memories have also resurfaced, such as losing by five points in the championship, learning a favorite coach was stepping down and the heartbreaking moment when I realized a global pandemic had canceled my final high school season.

My former Ravenscroft basketball coaches, Alfie and Peyton Hobbs, may have put it best: statistics, while important, always fade. It is being part of a team that you’ll remember most fondly. I remember the triumphant victories and tough losses that always strengthened the team dynamic. I remember mentoring younger players in hopes of sparking their love for the game. Above all, I remember the impact my teammates and coaches have had on me and how they helped me grow as a player and a person.

People won’t remember you for the points or goals you scored, the records you set, or the awards you won. Rather, they’ll remember you for the lasting influence you had on your teammates, coaches and programs. Sports have taught me that your legacy is defined not by a set of numbers but by your character and heart in the ups and downs of the game.

Now that my days as a high school athlete are behind me, I am most grateful for the ways my teammates, coaches and programs have changed me for the better. My hope is that I’ve made an impact on them in memorable ways, too.

— Kelly Baker ’20
Three-time letter-winner, Varsity Basketball
Four-time letter-winner, Varsity Soccer

 

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 “Show up: a mind-set of dedication to achieve a common goal”

As a two-sport athlete at Ravenscroft throughout all four years of high school, I can confidently say that I have had the full Ravenscroft student-athlete experience. I have learned so many incredibly valuable lessons through coaches and teammates and from the general atmosphere of team camaraderie within a group of students.

From the coaches who have made the greatest impacts on me as a person and an athlete, I have learned that the formula for athletic success is a sense of dedication and commitment not only to the improvement of yourself but also to the improvement of the team. In particular, Coach Jim Gibbons, who coached me in both football and baseball for my sophomore, junior and senior campaigns as an athlete, preaches the phrase “Show up” constantly to his players. “Show up” means far more than simply joining a team and going through the motions: it refers to a mind-set of dedication to achieve a common goal. Showing up to compete, showing up focused and well prepared, showing up to lay it all on the line and play your heart out for your teammates, all toward a goal of winning — most importantly, however, toward achieving the goal of leaving everything you possibly have out on the field so that when the game is over, you can honestly and proudly say that you did everything you could to help the team succeed.

The teams that I played on that found the most success were not necessarily the most talented or experienced. Instead, they were the teams that bonded and meshed the best with each other and were the most dedicated to playing and winning for one another. Being on teams made up of peers from different friend groups, age groups and ethnic and racial backgrounds, yet all sharing and bonding over the same mind-set of dedication to our team and determination to win, is what was most memorable and influential to me as a student-athlete at Ravenscroft.

— Charlie Everhard ’20
Three-time letter winner, Varsity Football
Three-time letter winner, Varsity Baseball

 

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“Why I am the basketball player I am today”

The 2019-20 school year was my first year at Ravenscroft, and even though I only had the opportunity to experience Ravenscroft for one year, it was a great time. I started out with basketball team camp in June 2019, where I met my future teammates and got to know each of them pretty well.

Coach Kevin Billerman played a big role in making sure I had a great year at Ravenscroft. Coach Billerman is an absolutely amazing coach and knows so much about the game of basketball. From the jump, he was always very encouraging and let me know that he believes in me and was always there to help me if I ever needed it. He opened the gym for me and my teammates in the fall almost every day at 6 a.m. and after school. He gave us an opportunity to work out and compete in front of college coaches. Coach Nick Lepara, one of the assistant coaches, was someone I could trust and could ask anything. He took a lot of time out of his day to coach us and help us grow all season.

Sean Billerman, another assistant coach, is a big reason why I am the basketball player I am today. He trained me throughout the summer and in the school year, and he is very dedicated to his craft. Even when he was working all day, he would come to our practices and take time to work out with players. Sean’s success was a big reason I committed to play basketball at the U.S. Naval Academy. Sean attended West Point, so he has experienced a military academy firsthand. We didn’t really have much discussion prior to my commitment to the academy, but seeing how he lives his life made an impression on me. I was intrigued by how mature and dedicated he is. Since then, Sean has been giving me advice on how to have a successful experience at the Naval Academy.

— Josh Hall ’20
Letter-winner, Varsity Basketball

 

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“A foundation for me to be a leader on and off the field”

Throughout my time at Ravenscroft, especially in Upper School, sports and the athletic program have shaped my school experience. Over the course of four years I have participated in the JV and varsity tennis, JV basketball and varsity lacrosse teams, and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with amazing teammates and inspiring coaches.

My coaches have worked hard to create encouraging environments for me to learn and grow as a player and individual. These coaches — Scott and Debbie Peek, Roxane Roberts, Kerry Norman and Josh Gallagher — have made monumental impacts on me. As my time at Ravenscroft is coming to an end and I reflect on some of the inspiring comments of my coaches, a common thread that continues to resonate within me is the word “leadership.” From Mrs. Coach Peek’s comments about supporting my teammates while exuding kind leadership to Coach Norman and Coach Gallagher’s acknowledging my growth in leading others and my willingness to help younger players during JV games, their support and encouragement contributed to the person I am and will become.

Being able to lead others isn’t necessarily something that has come naturally to me, but over the years, I’ve learned by watching older students lead effectively and my coaches’ ability to know what to say at the right times. I’ve learned that a good leader isn’t necessarily the person who has the loudest voice, but someone who is honest and respectful, who listens, encourages, shows dedication, is kind and is willing to take a chance.

Ravenscroft athletics has created a foundation for me to be a leader on and off the field, fostering skills I will use for the rest of my life. I thank my coaches for helping me become the best student-athlete and leader I can be.

— Amelia Holdstock ’20
Three-time letter-winner, Varsity Tennis
Four-time letter-winner, Varsity Lacrosse
JV Basketball

 

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