The heart of a coach, the mind of a teacher

April 2, 2014


Veronika Cedillo

Previously the boys golf coach at Downey High School, Mr. Sanders now focuses on teaching AP European History and Economics. Sanders stopped coaching to focus on raising his family.

At Downey High, teachers tend to take on twice as much as expected – that is, alongside teaching curriculum courses, they take hand in coaching a team. Managing both classrooms full of students and a sports team is double duty, but these teachers are willing to go the distance.

The process to apply as a coach, once established at the school, is simple: the teacher’s sports background is analyzed, and an interview concurs. Ms. Godfrey, an English teacher and the girls head soccer coach, felt affected as a high school athlete herself, so, wanting to leave the same impact on her current day students, she applied.

“I wanted to be a coach so that I could provide for my athletes what my high school coach provided for me: an identity,” Godfrey said. “I felt confident in high school because of my identity as a soccer player. Being a student-athlete held me accountable for my grades as well as my behavior in high school. Most of my favorite memories from high school revolve around soccer, so I interviewed for the position as head coach.”

The workload taken on by teachers in the classroom itself is already more than enough. When combined with the workload required of being a coach, the result is a staggering amount of obligations. Mr. Sanders, the ex-boys golf coach and a current AP European History and economics teacher, felt it was too overwhelming.

“You have to take advantage of your prep period,” Sanders said, “if you’re lucky enough to even have one. A lot of the time, we’re coaching during our prep period. It’s so hard to make time for yourself or your family, and personally, it’s a lot of stress that I just couldn’t handle anymore.”

Though some teachers do not have the time and energy to handle so much at once, for others, it is the only way to go about the school day. Mr. Mires, a science teacher and boys soccer and girls lacrosse coach, says the two simply go hand in hand for him.

“Teaching and coaching have always been my way of life and I don’t see myself doing one without the other,” Mires said. “The drive to be the best keeps me motivated and excited year after year.”

While different teachers take on varying workloads in different ways, those who manage to pull through have one common notion in mind: To make a difference in their students’– and athletes’ – lives.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Serene Gallardo
Serene Gallardo, Community Section Editor
Returning to The Downey Legend, junior Serene Gallardo is hoping to take more responsibility as a section editor, rather than being solely a writer. She wanted to join Newspaper after a class visit to Mrs. Ramirez’s class, and soon after, she was in. For her, Newspaper was a great platform to showcase what she loved doing the most: telling the story of thousands of Downey citizens. “For a quiet person like me,” she says, “writing is one of the best ways to express myself.”

In her free time, the 16-year-old introvert enjoys going on the in­ternet, writing­­ poetry, and playing Mario Kart. Musically, Gallardo’s tastes range from 80s-nostalgic tunes by The Smiths and The Cure to more modern alternative jams by Mac Demarco and Tame Impala. In the future, the writer sees herself attending a university somewhere in Northern California, where she wants to either continue her writing career or become a preschool teacher. But for now, she enters her second year with unassailable high hopes and a bright future­.
Photo of Veronika Cedillo
Veronika Cedillo, Photographer
Veronika Cedillo, a 17-year-old senior, is a new member of The Downey Legend staff. After taking Photojournalism her junior year, Cedillo has decided to pursue a career in photography and thought joining the school’s newspaper would be a great place to begin her journey. Being behind the camera is where Cedillo feels the most comfortable; it is her escape from reality, her happy place. Cedillo has fallen in love with the camera and loves to capture incredible moments with a single picture. “Memorable moments don’t just have to be stored in the back of your mind,” Cedillo said. “That’s what’s so great about a camera; it allows you to actually keep something from that amazing moment that you never want to forget.”

If Cedillo isn’t busy with a camera, she may be sipping down a Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks with her friends or walking her Maltese Mix dog along the shore of the beach. Someday, Cedillo would like to work for National Geographic and travel the world doing what she enjoys the most: taking pictures. “If you are lucky enough to find something you are truly passionate about, then you should do everything to pursue that dream,” Cedillo said. “Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from achieving your goals.” Cedillo is looking forward to her first year on The Downey Legend’s 2013-2014 staff.

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