2007-11-08 / News

Students unable to topple teachers in soccer game

By Adrienne Downing

Will Sheppard, left, battles first-grade teacher Kelly Speck for the ball during the student-faculty soccer game. Photo by Adrienne Downing Will Sheppard, left, battles first-grade teacher Kelly Speck for the ball during the student-faculty soccer game. Photo by Adrienne Downing The 18 players on the Lawn Avenue School soccer team were not trying out for the role of teacher's pet at the annual Student-Faculty soccer game on Oct. 26.

Stephanie Nocon, the school's student assistance councilor, came up with the idea last year as part of the Red Ribbon Week to keep kids off drugs.

"Each day of the week has a theme to it, and Friday is sock it to drugs day. We have the basketball game every year and so I thought sock it sounded like soccer, so we should have a soccer game," she said. "The Jamestown Substance Abuse Task Force donated prizes with drug free messages on them to give out to the kids who were cheering or having positive involvement on the sidelines."

The game was held as the conclusion of the spirit week, and the younger set was not willing to show any mercy to their elders.

"They definitely were not taking it easy on us. They were going for the win," teacher Tom Carney said. Carney switched roles for the day, moving from his normal position as one of the team's coaches to coaching the faculty team.

"It is really good for the kids to see their teachers outside of the classroom and in a different light," Carney said. "They were competitive against us, but I love it."

The faculty squad was made up of teachers from both the elementary and middle schools, and included seasoned and novice players.

"We sent out an email to see who was interested and we ended up with just enough teachers, but we wanted a few subs, so my son, Ross, and Stephanie Nocon's sister, Amy Wordell, played as well," Mark Allard said.

Allard has officiated the games the last two years and he had a few surprises for players on both teams. "I can't play because I have bad knees, but I have watched over 2000 of my kids games in my lifetime so they figured I could referee," he said. "This year I gave Mr. Alfred a yellow card. It was contrived, of course, but he played right into my hands."

Alfred, who is the school's cross country coach, played in the game last year, but had not played competitive soccer prior to that game.

Science teacher Jim Kaczynski was also a newcomer to the game, but he fooled the crowd into believing he had previous playing experience. "I played football when I was younger, but not soccer," he said, "I think it is great for the kid's school spirit. I always play in the studentteacher basketball game, so when they asked me to do this I thought it would be great fun."

Despite having several former college and high school players on their team, the teachers quickly fell behind their pupils when team captain Zach Henning buried a shot in the corner of the net past a diving Kelly Speck in goal.

Speck, who played goalie when he was in high school, was rapidly back on his feet and ready for the next onslaught.

"I was a little taken by the competitive spirit the kids had, but then again, the teachers weren't there to mess around either," he said goodnaturedly. "We don't want to look bad in front of the kids."

Emilio Kurz gave the students a 2-0 lead in the first half and the students on the sidelines let out a loud cheer.

"The kids that were watching were definitely rooting for their fellow students. There was no mistaking their loyalty," Carney said. The coach played the entire game and said he was "worn out" at the end of the day.

The teachers refused to go quietly, however, and Ross Allard netted the ball to bring the educators within one goal going into halftime.

A little rest during half time gave the teachers a second wind and Jeff Bonderew scored the tying goal for the teachers' team to knot the score at 2-2 in the third quarter.

Both teams had several shots on goal in the fourth quarter, but both defenses were on their toes and neither team could score the go-ahead goal.

Second grade co-teachers Faith Krause and Tara Higgins pointed out that the end of the game was their favorite part. "Neither Faith nor I had ever played soccer before, but it was a lot of fun," Higgins said.

"The best thing was when all of the teachers ran on the field together at the end to try to score. The kids were so good about it, they knew it was fun and they didn't complain at all," Krause added.

Teachers and students alike are big fans of the game and want to see it continue year after year.

"This year was a great balance between being very competitive and great fun," Allard concluded. "The kids were very respectful and no one got hurt. Everyone enjoyed themselves."

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