SAN ANTONIO (May 16, 2012) -- The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) men's and women's soccer teams received recognition on May 15 for their work as mentors in the Northside Independent School District (NISD), the largest school district in San Antonio and the fourth largest in Texas. Northside held its 2012 Partner-of-the-Year Awards Reception at the Paul Taylor Field House, and Soccer Coach Shane Hurley accepted the award on behalf of his team members. He was congratulated by Dr. John M. Folks, NISD Superintendent.
"I think it is tremendous that out of more than 400 partners with NISD, OLLU's soccer program was one of 18 partners receiving recognition," said Hurley. "I am very proud of our fantastic young men and women."
The soccer teams of OLLU understand the importance of being champions of character on the field and in the classroom. The student-athletes also recognize that they can be effective role models for impressionable youngsters in the community. This year, the Saints teams, under the leadership of Coach Hurley, took the initiative of becoming tutors and mentors with Myers Elementary School, which is located in the city's northwest off Culebra Rd.
The NISD mentoring program matches members of the community with students to provide a positive role model. Mentors help improve a student's self-esteem and attitude toward learning.
The Saints' student-athletes worked with individuals and small groups from kindergarten, first grade and second grade. Tutors assisted with vocabulary, reading skills, writing skills and some life skills.
During the fall semester, the student-athletes spent Friday afternoons at Myers when conflict with practice and games did not appear. In the spring, the teams' off-season, they mentored and tutored every week.
The NISD Partner-of-the-Year Awards Ceremony was emceed by KSAT 12 (local ABC affiliate) News Reporter Stephanie Serna, a graduate of the district's John Jay High School. When presenting the award to Hurley, she read an excerpt of his comments from the award package saying, "Coach Hurley indicated that after the experience of tutoring and mentoring the youngsters, many of his student-athletes are considering switching their majors to education so that they can become teachers after they graduate."
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) – of which OLLU is a member – stresses the importance of five core values, including integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. And through the soccer teams' involvement with the mentoring program at Myers, they fulfill their commitment to the Champions of Character.
"Coach Hurley and his teams are fine examples of student-athletes who take their leadership roles on campus seriously," said Jack Hank, OLLU Vice President for Student Life/Athletic Director. "We are proud that they have excelled both in the classroom and the playing field, and now, in the community, as well."
Saints soccer athletes volunteering at Myer Elementary include:
Freshmen: Stephanie Diaz, Ashlee Thompson , Stephanie Rodriguez, Brianna Burtone, Javier Lopez, Oscar Valencia, Marcelo Chapa, Bobby Moran, AJ Gonzalez, Steven Ybarra
Sophomores: Cindy Lima, Steven Salinas, Juan Buitron, Alyssa Mora
Juniors: Chelsea Flores, Abby DuLaney, Aaron Guerrero, Octavio Herrera, Nikole Gase
Seniors: Hailey Olden, Rebekah Valenta, Edgar Ramos, Marco Herrera, Dustin Kagebein, Hernan Ramirez