Rachel Grimes This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 28, 2014
Educator of the Year
Rachel Grimes

Every year when the first day of school rolls around I am looking forward to one thing: basketball season. This year, my freshman year of high school, was no different. From day one I was counting down to tryouts, and when that day came around, I was much more nervous than expected. Throughout the school day I just couldn’t shake my nerves; the butterflies in my stomach would not go away. Tryouts began ,and I could feel that I was holding back. I was missing layups, not catching passes, and my foul shots were ricocheting off of the backboard like bricks. I became more and more frustrated as the minutes passed and I eventually just started to give up. This is where Rachel comes in. Rachel was at tryouts, and I really didn’t know who she was. She honestly scared me at first, but I could tell she knew what she was doing when it came to basketball. I think that she saw me beginning to give up too. She was not about to let that happen. From day one Rachel has pushed me to my full potential as a player and there is nothing more I could have asked for in a coach.

When I think of Rachel, a few words come to mind. The first one is commitment. My team is made up of a group average players with a load of potential and not too many people see the latter, but Rachel did. She strove to make us all see that as well. She made it her personal goal to make us into the best players that we could be. Rachel was always pushing us, whether pushing us to go to clinics or pushing us to be better people. When we didn’t want to play anymore and we just wanted to give up, she was there on the sidelines cheering us on telling us to get it together. And we listened. We came together, and even if we still lost the game, we felt alright about it because we gave it our all and most of that goes right back to Rachel. My team would be absolutely nowhere if it wasn’t for her.

Something that differentiates Rachel from any other coach I have ever had in the past is how hard she worked to get to know me and my team. Rachel really made an effort to stay on the same page with us and seemed genuinely interested in our lives. She would ask us questions and let us rant to her when we had stuff going on in school. Every day at practice, she would be the first to know if we had a good day or who we were mad at. She also didn’t shun us from her life either. Rachel was the perfect balance between coach and friend, and I think that helped me a lot during the season. I actually looked forward to practice because I knew she would make it fun and we were going to benefit from it.

Aside from the team, Rachel was a great leader for me this season. From day one she supported me and pushed me to reach my potential. I am not the fastest player on the court, and Rachel knew that too. My speed is probably my greatest weakness as a basketball player. Most coaches I have had in the past didn’t really care too much about that because they didn’t care too much about me. Rachel cared. She motivated me when I just wanted to quit, and believe me, I wanted to quit a lot. When we would be running at the end of practice, and I was bringing up the end of the pack, she cheered me on. That in itself made me squeeze out the last few drops of energy I had left, so that I was not last, not even second to last and that was a really big deal to me. I specifically remember one day after practice when my mom was late picking me up and Rachel was waiting with me. We were just casually talking, and then she just blurted out “You know, Poad, I really see a lot of myself in you”. And she took the next ten minutes to tell me just how highly she thought of me and just how much potential she thought I had. I don’t think she ever realized how much those ten minutes affected me. I have never ever had a coach tell me stuff like that. After that I decided that I was going to work as hard as I possibly could, because I was not about to let her down.

I am nominating Rachel Grimes for the Educator of the Year Award because there is not one other person that deserves it more than she does. Rachel poured her whole heart into the DMA JV basketball team this year, and I could not have asked for anything else. She built a bond with me that is impossible to replace and she also instilled a drive in me that I can not get rid of. She passed on the drive to win, to sweat, to work my butt off, and that is what a great coach is supposed to do. Their purpose is to teach their kids: inspire them, motivate them, and set a precedent for them. Rachel did all of that and more. She became a friend to me and more than that, a coach that I looked up to and trusted. Given these points, I believe that Rachel Grimes is perfectly suited to receive this award.

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