DOWNEY - Hundreds of spectators gathered at the Downey High gym on March 24 to watch the faculty and CIF girls' volleyball and wrestling champions compete against each other for a night to remember.Each $5 entrance fee went towards a fund to help pay for the champion athletes' CIF rings. In order to support this effort, many teachers and staff volunteered to participate as members of the faculty volleyball and wrestling teams. Several after-school practices were required to get the faculty members in shape and ready to keep up with the CIF champions. Andrea Sims, head coach of the girls' volleyball team, competed against her girls for the first and last time. "It felt extremely strange playing against my girls," said Sims. "I'm used to coaching from the sideline or even the end line at tournaments, but never from the other side of the net during a game. A few times [during the game] I found myself coaching my girls through the net trying to point out where they needed to be. I got caught up in the moment. I knew I wasn't going to get to coach this group of girls again, and quite honestly, I'm not ready to let them go." Activities director and former wrestling coach Gordon Weisenburger officiated the wrestling match with retired principal Allen Layne. "I'm very proud of Coach Soto and the wrestling program," said Weisenburger. "To get back-to-back CIF titles is an unprecedented feat that not many programs can boast." According to Sims, the key to a memorable event is having the right combination of enthusiasm and support to get the entire school involved. "Any time our faculty participates in an event, the students will come to watch," said Sims. "Faculty is the key ingredient in making an event successful because they are able to encourage the school spirit and students become intrigued with seeing their teachers outside the class. Our faculty did such an amazing job getting the word out to their students and that's why it was successful." Although the girls' volleyball and wrestling teams prevailed over the faculty, the ending result did not matter. This event created memories to last for a lifetime and proved that Downey High's student body is always willing to support noteworthy efforts.
********** Published: March 31, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 50