Our middle school students participate in a variety of extracurricular activities that help them thrive outside the classroom and foster a sense of community. In this blog post we will speak to two recent activities that were organized by our Director of Middle School Athletics, Mario Rossetti, and some of the lessons learned by our students because of them.
In October, students who take part in the Middle School Athletics Program were invited to a community engagement day at the SF-Marin Food Bank. This is a local nonprofit that provides over 55,000 Bay Area households with food assistance on a weekly basis.
Mario specifically picked a local community engagement/volunteer activity so that our middle schoolers could practice what they learn in the classroom: “Think Global, Act Local.” The topic of food insecurity is discussed in one or more of the students’ inquiry units, and many Grade 8 students have done their final IB-MYP presentation on this topic over the years.
By having the students volunteer at the food bank, Mario was able to share with them firsthand experience on the scale, organization, coordination, and leadership that goes into providing food assistance to the local community. As you can see from the photos below, the students worked in tandem, filling food bags, loading up boxes, and played an integral part in the weekly food distribution. They felt good about their contributions in the short amount of time they were there, and felt as if they had made a difference.
This engagement work taught our students both gratitude and understanding, and helped them to make a connection between helping someone else and their own joy and passion for their community.
Learning From Elite-Level Athletes
Our second activity focused on our commitment to the holistic development of our student-athletes, through the observation of elite-level athletes in their respective sports. This is known as action observation. This invaluable experience empowers our students, whether they are beginners in the game or aspiring to reach the pinnacle of their sport, by granting them the opportunity to glean insights and techniques from those performing at the highest level of competition.
On this particular night, all our student-athletes that are registered to our Volleyball program, were invited to watch the University of San Francisco (USF) Women’s Volleyball team play against University of the Pacific.
Through Mario’s connections with the sports staff at USF, he was able to have USF give each of our students that attended the event a poster of the USF Women’s Volleyball team, which was also signed by all the players. In addition, our students got to stand with the team during the national anthem and introduction of the game.
This participation helped the students on several levels:
- ability to see and adopt better sports skills; and,
- boosting the self-confidence of our student-athletes, by giving them an opportunity to appear in front of a large audience, being a focal point, on stage.
Mario has already promised our middle schoolers more experiences like these into the Middle School Winter and Spring Athletics programs. We look forward to hearing more about this in the balance of the school year.
Mario Rossetti, Middle School Athletics Director, and Micheline Savarin, Director of Marketing
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