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Football team honors faculty with ‘My Jersey, Your Impact’

Courtesy Matt Diamond
Your impact: Senior Landon Ross and teacher Brian Gallagher pose with Ross’ jersey. The football team started the “My Jersey, Your Impact” initiative this fall.

By Juliana Yao, Co-Sports Editor

This year, the varsity football team kickstarted the “My Jersey, Your Impact” initiative to honor the staff that has positively impacted the players’ educational and personal journeys.

Senior athletes wrote a letter to their chosen staff member and surprised the faculty with their football jersey on Oct. 12. The following day, the team took a moment before its last home game of the season to honor the chosen faculty.

“My Jersey, Your Impact” is a tradition at a number of other school football teams, and parents raised the possibility of Conestoga starting it during a summer Booster Club meeting. Coaches, players and parents alike gave positive feedback to the initiative, supporting its implementation in the fall.

Senior and co-captain Benner Miller believes the program gave the players a unique chance to recognize the staff as well as being an enjoyable experience overall.

“Everyone loved it,” Miller said. “But it also just gave everyone a chance to reflect and show our gratitude to these people. And it may not have been something that a lot of us would have done on our own, but once it was presented to us, everyone understood how it was a great opportunity.”

Some of the faculty that received jerseys had little previous knowledge of the initiative, only learning about it once they accepted their jerseys. One of these faculty members was economics and psychology teacher Brian Gallagher, to whom senior and football player Landon Ross gifted his jersey and letter.

“It was kind of a shock to me actually,” Gallagher said. “But it was also a (reaction) of gratitude. It was a really nice moment. I didn’t really know what was happening, but once it was explained to me, I really felt appreciative of the student and of the idea behind it.”

Head coach of the football team Matt Diamond has a similar mindset, believing that the program is important to build appreciation for Conestoga staff. With many faculty members reaching out to Diamond about how touched they were, he hopes to carry on the program into future years.

“It sends the right message that there are so many people along the way that contribute to your life and that there are so many positive people in the district,” Diamond said. “We want to continue to do this as an initiative that gives back to the community.”

Gallagher believes in the difference that such a program can make on teachers, saying that an acknowledgement of how a teacher’s class positively impacted a student can serve as the extra motivation that they may need on a given day.

“Maybe the greatest thing that it gave me was just good encouragement. You never really know the impacts that you’re necessarily making,” Gallagher said. “I think it reframes the perspective of why I got into teaching and why I still really, really enjoy my job.”

Juliana Yao can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Juliana Yao
Juliana Yao, Co-Opinion Editor
Juliana Yao is a junior and the Co-Sports Editor of The Spoke. She was previously a Staff Reporter and often writes for the Sports and Opinion sections. Aside from The Spoke, she is a member of the varsity girls’ swim team. As a sports editor, she oversees the writing and journalistic process of reporters in her section.