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Athletic Fellows Update

Joanie Darnall '22 and Garrett Hughes '23
Catch up with this year's Athletic Fellows, junior Garret Hughes and senior Joanie Darnall, as they share their experiences so far this year serving in student leadership. 
Q: What was your reason for applying to be a Fellow?

Joanie: I wanted to make a difference, find ways for students to have more voice.

Garrett: One reason I applied to be a Fellow was to try something new. Teachers and friends encouraged me as a leader and I wanted to be a Fellow to learn more about leadership. I knew it would be a challenge to handle being a Fellow, academics and sports. However, I wanted to grow as a leader and learn from those in leadership at SBS.


Q: What are some of your accomplishments as a Fellow?

Joanie: Student involvement in sports events has been a big accomplishment for us, especially considering COVID. Garrett and I wanted to make things as normal as possible and encourage people to attend games again. 

Garrett: One of our accomplishments was theme selection for Flight Night, Spring Swing and other athletic events. We got more students to attend games because they wanted to take part in the themes we chose. Moving the Jingle Bell Classic to a Friday was also an enormous accomplishment for us because every year the event was on a Thursday, making it harder for students to attend. By moving it to Friday, more people could come to support the soccer team. 


Q: What have you learned so far in your role?

Joanie: I have learned that everyone’s input is extremely important in any group effort and to make sure that everyone’s opinions are heard. Also, I’ve learned to think more realistically about ideas I have because some of them might seem good, but in reality, had challenges that weren’t obvious at first.

Garrett: So far I have learned how much goes on behind the scenes — like getting to see what planning a big event looks like and how much has to be checked before the event can actually happen. 

For example, Joanie and I helped our mentors Coach Walker and Mrs. Exley at our home cross-country meet last semester. We were both given duties such as check-in, helping families know where to go, bringing water to athletes, cutting tags off of the athletes’ shoes and more. It was hot, and we were tired. By the end, I saw how much Coach Walker and Mrs. Exley do for athletic events and why they ask for help from volunteers. I’ve loved this role and have learned what being a true leader looks and feels like and have been able to teach and help others.

Q: What do you hope to achieve this semester?

Joanie and Garrett: Spring semester, we hope to work on a plan for getting a smoothie bar/vending machines in the Athletic Center. We know it will take some time, but it would be great to have a solid plan started so that the next Athletic Fellows could continue our work. We think it’s important to find a way for athletes to get more nutritional snacks, like protein smoothies or protein bars.


Q: Why do you like being a Fellow?

Joanie: I enjoy being a fellow because I get to incorporate a student's point of view into different areas of the school. If I hear someone in class express a good idea, I can help that person know who to go to or even help make a plan. Also, I like spending time with the other Fellows, Prefects and department heads. Everyone is super nice and really fun!

Garrett: I like being a Fellow because it gives me a chance to help students. As student leaders, we want to make their experience in high school the best it can be for them. Fellows and Prefects are here to make a difference. I love being able to help students. Being a Fellow is awesome, and it is such a great experience to be a leader at the school and have fun while doing it!


Q: What would you say to someone considering your Fellow position next year?

Joanie: To someone considering my position as an Athletic Fellow, I would tell them that, in my opinion, this position is the most fun because you get to go to tons of games and you get to plan fun things to do at them. If you really like sports and being behind the scenes in athletics, you should consider applying. 

Garrett: To be in this position you have to understand you are there to support our student athletes. Do your best to help at athletic events and attend as many as you possibly can. The Athletic Fellow position is fun and a great learning experience on a student leadership as an athlete or a non-athlete. This opportunity exposes you to the behind the scenes leadership at SBS athletic events.

Every Fellow has a mentor, a person who will help you as you take on this role and help with your questions or ideas. For the Athletic Fellow, your mentors would be Coach Mike Walker and Mrs. Kim Exley. I love having them as mentors and I continue to learn more each time I’m with them. 

Lastly, have fun. Do not be afraid to apply for this position or any others. Take the risk because it’s better to interview for the position and not get it then not to even apply at all. Give it your all in the application and interview and if you get the position, understand that you are a leader of this school and you must do your best to exemplify that daily!
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