The High School experience should never be confined to the walls of a classroom, but parents at Woodside High School are making sure that their children have an enriched educational life ahead of them. These parents call themselves the Woodside High Football Parent Support Group and their kids are the most disciplined and driven individuals you can find. While the students come from a variety of backgrounds and individually have their own reasons for pursuing football, the parents of these dedicated kids have all come together to give unique opportunities to each and every team member. Currently, the students are spending their days training under the 90-degree summer heat that’s plaguing the peninsula, but thriving for every moment of it.
The Parent Support group has aimed to instill certain values in their children, including an importance in teamwork and community involvement. Kyle Harrington, the Community Knights-Woodside FB liasion, explained that the students who are receiving the benefits of Grants are also taking their time to volunteer with their partners. Kyle alongside his son, who began playing in Fall 2017, have personally dedicated their time to Community Knight’s Bingo games on Sundays and Wednesdays. Kyle said that he’s “very impressed with the Woodside coaching staff. They’re trying to build a community-oriented group of young people, and the Grant has really helped take care of some of the basic things that teams take for granted. That leaves time to focus on other things like leadership development courses”. The team sent their leadership oriented members to a conference recently in Richmond, where they were made to realize they can truly do more by being a leader within their school.
The team is always looking for innovative ways to improve as people and players. The Parent Support group has used its energy to secure grants that have helped with purchasing hydration systems, leadership seminars & books, and other various things that they find themselves with limited funds for. Kyle said, “we signed up everyone for an online system called Huddle which colleagues use to exchange game tips.” Their head coach, Danny Dodson, had nothing but good things to say about his kids. “I got hired twenty years ago,” he said, “-and this is so important to me. As a staff, we try to build great young men and players on top of that. We want to teach them commitment, hardworking, leadership, integrity, and doing the right thing. We’ve got a great group of guys that may not be the biggest or fastest, but they play hard.”
Statistics have shown that participation in school sports/activities has a huge positive impact on children. Including; a rise in self-confidence/self-concept, a feeling of forming close relationships with your peers, and positive mental/physical health benefits. Students of Woodside High School’s Football Team had much to say about their experience, including sharing the emotional aspects of being on their team. Tyreece White, a rising Junior, said “[Football] is something I have always wanted to be a part of. I always feel like I’m being pushed to be the best I can be, and I see my team as my brothers. I’d do about anything for them.” Student Tony Harrington, a rising Sophomore, said that prior to joining “I knew there was a long tradition of great football at Woodside, and it’s been the best group I’ve ever been a part of. We’re a family. When I have a bad day, the guys come in and lift me up. The team has changed everything for me.”
As the team prepares for their upcoming season during summer training, their spirits are high and their parents are fully supporting their ventures through their community collaboration and spirit. The kids of Woodside High have heart, soul, and a much better tolerance for summer heat than I do. they embody the value of putting our time and efforts into our youth, paving the way for their success and happiness during their formative years. We cannot wait to attend our first game of the season one school returns in the Fall!