Mrs. Weed sits in front of a whiteboard with math books and notes in front of her as she prepares for her morning jumpstart students to arrive for their morning tutoring. When the tutoring is finished she will go teach her 8th graders for the remainder of the school day. Fresh out of college and full of enthusiastic energy, Mrs. Weed has chosen to start her teaching career here at Oasis Academy.
Oasis Academy College Preparatory High School is small. Roughly 80 students comprise the freshman and sophomore classes where the majority of the team hails from. Four jumpstart girls rounded out the rest of the 12-girl squad. Having played volleyball in her younger years, Mrs. Weed was asked if she would like to coach the 2016 girl's high school volleyball team. And so continued the coordinated effort to bring more organized athletics to Oasis.
I take advantage of the time before Mrs. Weed's tutoring session to ask her about the volleyball team. She tells me with an almost relieved expression that the season has come to a close. It was alot of work starting a brand new team with 75% of the girls having never played before. Not only was it her first year teaching, it was also her first year coaching.
"The other teams know we're here. They know we exist," she tells me. "It was quite an experience."
I have to resist the urge to sugar-coat here. The team had a rough go of things. Sports are supposed to be fun and engaging, but it still wears on the girls when every game ends in a loss. One player told me, "We made the other teams feel good about themselves."
I applaud the girls for going out there and playing anyway. Rough start or not, it's still a start. Volleyball is now a part of Oasis Academy. The seed has been planted and we can now watch it grow.