If your kids are involved in sports at St. Josaphat School, you undoubtedly know and are grateful for Mary Drill-Hermanek!
In a story familiar to any "power" volunteer, Mary began her service to St. Josaphat when she found that with a little coordination, the sports registration process could be a lot smoother for everyone involved. So she took it over, and an inch became a mile, and 10 years later, she "has tirelessly paved the way for league sporting opportunities at SJS, so that our kids can benefit from all that athleticism and teamwork has to offer," said parent Julie Polt.
In regards to Stewardship, we can all learn from Mary's example. Under her leadership, our sports program grew along with our enrollment. Ten years ago, we had 2 Boys and 2 Girls Jr. High Basketball Teams, 2 Girls Volleyball Teams, and a Boys Volleyball Team. Presently, we have 3 Boys and 4 Girls Basketball Teams, 4 Girls Volleyball Teams, a Flag Football, a Cross Country Team and Junior and Flag Football Cheerleading Squads. In addition, we host sports clinics and Junior Soccer and Basketball Programs for grades PK3-3rd. 90% of all students from Grades 4-8 participate in extra-curricular sports. There are over 40 volunteer coaches in the program.
Mary is also an innovator and one of the most respected ADs in our Catholic League Conference. She initiated a prayer for players and spectators before each game/match in our gym. Next year, the whole league will adopt her idea. She started volleyball for 4th graders at SJS, and the next year, the league followed. St. Josaphat began hosting league games in 2011, which meant organizing concessions and hoards of volunteers and keeping players and spectators safe on the slippery gym floor in foul weather, a huge challenge Mary overcame!
"I know that parents trust and respect Mary," said Assistant AD Kate York. A major reason for this is that Mary ensures fairness and good sportsmanship in our Athletic Program. She developed the Athletics Handbook which clearly states the rules, policies and expectations for players and parents. To help manage adherence, she developed the parent Athletics Board, and freed the Principal and AD from this task.
"I can't tell you how many times parents of opposing teams come up to me and said they love playing at our gym. They feel welcome, warm and feel the positive energy towards all our children. Mary is such a big part of that culture," said Kate York.
"She is a tremendous and positive support to coaches and SJS parents as well! Thank You Mary!" added Julie Polt.
Mary will be stepping down as Athletic Director at the end of the year; however, Kate York, incoming AD, will keep a sign above her desk that says WWMD, "What Would Mary Do?" Next year will be Mary's last as an SJS parent after Frankie '10, Johnny '12 and Evelyn '16. Of course, Mary will always be wiling to lend a hand when and wherever needed!