This year the varsity girls, varsity boys and junior varsity girls cross country teams at Founders Classical Academy of Lewisville finished their season winning first place at the State Championship Texas Charter School Cross Country Meet. Their success is the result of months of hard work and dedication. While winning is something to be proud of, it is the growth that the students have experienced as individuals that their coaches value the most.

At Founders, a brother and sister team, Kevin and Kerry Frost, coach cross country and also teach math. Ms. Frost believes athletics help connect the character excellences the students study to real world application.

“Students read about character traits of excellence like perseverance and endurance which they discuss and apply in the classroom, but sports really give them the opportunity to practice and show those character traits,” said Ms. Frost.

Beyond reinforcing ResponsiveEd’s emphasis on character education, Mr. Frost believes sports help students develop life skills.

“Athletes learn how to be a team player, how to lead, how to take on a difficult task and conquer it. It teaches them how to be coachable individuals and how to listen to authority. There is a totally different dynamic when you move from the classroom to being on a team,” said Mr. Frost.

Being part of a team means ResponsiveEd athletes are held to academic and behavior standards if they want to compete. Matthew Haid, the social studies teacher and athletic coordinator at Clay Classical Academy says athletics can serve as a great motivator for students.

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Clay Classical Academy Cheerleading team having fun.

“Students, particularly in the younger grades, need motivation to come to school, work hard and behave well. Often you can tell when the season is starting for some students who commonly have behavioral issues because their behavior suddenly becomes much better,” said Mr. Haid.

Since he came to Clay Classical Academy three years ago, he has started a co-ed cross country team, boys’ and girls’ soccer and basketball as well as girls’ volleyball and cheerleading.

Carolyn Anderson, the campus director at Quest Middle School of Lewisville, believes extracurriculars like athletics in middle school help students build habits that will help them academically as well as later in life.

“Sports for a middle school campus is an opportunity to teach leadership, sharing, team spirit, ambition, and self-discipline. We have some exceptional students with a passion for sports, and some dedicated teachers who make it a possibility,” said Ms. Anderson.

While it is a lot of work, Ms. Frost says as a coach and teacher it is worth the time and effort to see her athletes meet their potential.

“It is very rewarding to pour so much of yourself into an athlete, and when you see them run a successful race it is worth all the effort you put into training them. Being a coach in addition to a teacher has allowed me to really get to know my students. I want them to look back on their cross country career and know that we cared for them more as an individual than as an athlete,” said Ms. Frost.

While developing their character, building self-discipline and forming positive habits, students also have the opportunity to have fun, which Mr. Haid believes is an important element.

“Sometimes students just need to enjoy themselves and have fun. Sports gives them the opportunity to make friends and a positive environment to use their energy in a productive way,” he said.

This year the Founders cross country teams celebrated a victory after all their hard work, but their coaches hope they also learned how to handle setbacks and disappointments.

“This season we focused on a quote by coach John Wooden ‘success is never final and failure is never fatal, it is courage that counts.’ We teach our athletes to see disappointments or setbacks as motivation, and to handle it with graciousness and dignity. As with all things in life, you have to learn how to pick yourself back up and keep working hard towards your goals,” said Ms. Frost.