When AIPHS introduced sports this year, the sports budget was limited to only five sports teams: Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer, Swimming, and Girls Volleyball. The latter, girls volleyball, was AIPHS’s most popular sport to date and attracted a loyal following, particularly, a group of AIPHS male students. Every week, these young men would practice with several Lady Eagles players during lunch and even served as competition to the girls team in their after school practices.
Yet, even after the Lady Eagles’ season ended, the boys could be found at lunch between Portable 1 and the main building practicing among themselves and spiking an occasional volleyball into the parking lot. With their dedication and commitment, it became widely apparent that they were on a quest to field a Boys Volleyball team at AIPHS. To do so, the Golden Eagles would need to complete a series of five steps prior to launch.
Step 1: Generate Interest. To field a team, there would need to be legitimate interest. Check.
Step 2: Find A League. Oddly enough, the boys weren't sure if volleyball would be offered as a sport, as budget cuts to the Oakland Athletic League threatened to cancel several spring sports altogether. It would take until early January before the boys received confirmation of a volleyball sports season. Check.
Step 3: Secure Finances. Thanks in large part to Head of School Tareyton Russ, AIPHS agreed to help assist the team’s initial costs, provided that the Boys Volleyball team fundraises throughout their sports season. Check.
Step 4: Find A Coach. To mesh well with this group of brash teenaged boys, Coach Cassandra Choi was chosen as the right hire. In her 4th year at AIMS, Coach Choi started playing sports when she was 6. She has competed in softball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, cross country, track and field, and downhill slalom skiing, and was a hurdler and high jumper at Augustana University until her career ended because of injury. She graduated with a double major in French and International Affairs and had hopes of working for the government, but surprisingly discovered that she loved teaching after spending 5 years teaching preschool in South Korea. Now, Coach Choi balances a very peculiar life that ranges from teaching kindergarteners to coaching teenage boys. Check.
Step 5: Prove They Belong. It’s easy to taper expectations for a first year program that wasn’t supposed to exist. But instead, the Golden Eagles only have one objective: become one of the two BACSAC schools to qualify for the Oakland Section Playoffs and compete for a championship. To get there, the Golden Eagles will need to do its best in the face of stacked competition, including matches against traditional Oakland schools like Oakland Tech, Skyline High, and defending Oakland Section Champs, Oakland High in three consecutive matches. Regardless of the end result, the AIPHS Boys Volleyball team is here to stay, because they belong. Their persistence and determination is what led them there. Check.
Come support the Golden Eagles against Kipp King in their first game of the season, this Monday, March 26, at 5PM, at Kipp King Collegiate High School, in San Lorenzo.
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FUNDRAISING ALERT: The Boys Volleyball Team needs your help! Please consider supporting the Boys Volleyball Team and AIPHS Athletics with a generous donation. For more information, please email Coach Choi at Cassandra.firstname.lastname@example.org.