Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Chance to Succeed

My name is Josh Cannon and on March 15, 2010, I was hired to become the athletic director for this school.  Coming from a therapeutic program in North Carolina and working there for five years, my passion was to create and run a successful sports program at a therapeutic boarding school. 

I soon found out, after being hired, that I was here to bring athletics as a whole back to this campus.  The day I got here I was swarmed by students saying, “I want to play this, can we get a team for this.”  Honestly I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. A little over a year later, so many things have changed.  I was told in May of 2010 we were no longer going to be part of a conference we participated in for athletics due to kids at our school having behavioral problems, and again told the same thingon July 10, 2011.  So after having the schedule set around that for all sports, I had to quickly adjust. 

We, as a school got into a new conference (ACCE) for basketball, volleyball and cross country provisionally for 2010 and was accepted a year later in May 2011.  Our kids quickly responded to being kicked out of the conference and with sports such as soccer and cross country performed at the highest, most respective level of integrity possible that can be shown on and off the field. The coaches and I challenged these teams to be respectful leaders not just on the field but on campus as well.  Because of this, they were able to pull through in the face of adversity.  These teams did not win a state championship, or a conference championship. We did however, finish in the Final Four in State in basketball in the ACCE, a state recognized conference, and fifth in the state in Cross Country in the ACCE.

What they did not realize at the time, but realize now, is that they achieved so much more.  They set a foundation for a new Sports Program here at Ridge Creek and new atheletic opportunities for so many who will come after them to participate in.  In the Fall of 2010 I told them that I could care less if they win games, the only thing I care about is the opportunity to give some of these students an outlet.  An outlet for when they get out of here, they have the opportunity to participate in something that will keep them out of trouble and potentially save their life one day as it did for me. 

I believe that the coaches and players this season and for many seasons after have started this trend and it will be evident in what is seen from the Ridge Creek students from here on out.  So after a year and a half of being at this job, I was able to see the students be given a chance, a chance to work on themselves to become better people, not just in therapy sessions or groups, but on the athletic field, where they can become a unified team searching for an identity, but most importantly becoming a family.  For that opportunity that was given to me in March 2010, to become a part of a family with these students, I will be forever in debt to Ridge Creek School.  This place not only changes students lives, but adults lives as well.  Thank you and I look forward to many more memories at this school.