Root, root, root for the St. Anne’s baseball teamAfter they close their books at the end of the school day, 17 St. Anne Catholic School boys are heading out to the baseball diamond.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
After they close their books at the end of the school day, 17 St. Anne Catholic School boys are heading out to the baseball diamond.
This spring St. Anne’s is offering baseball as an extracurricular sport, which is a first for the school whose only other sport is boys and girls basketball.
“We’re trying to make sure our middle school students have more extracurricular opportunities while being a part of our school,” said school Principal Randy Stanke.
And sports aren’t the only options the school has added.
“This year we brought music back for the first time in six years. We brought Spanish to our school for the first time in probably seven or eight more years. We’re trying to enhance our curriculum not only academically but also increase the opportunities for our students in terms of extracurriculars.”
In addition to adding to the sense of community at St. Anne’s, Stanke says offering sports teaches students about teamwork and leadership outside of the classroom.
“That’s a very valuable life experience for them,” he said. “There are some very valuable life skills you can learn in terms of being on a team.”
Stanke said St. Anne’s announced the baseball team offering in school and church bulletins and parents and students quickly showed interest.
Dan Keller, St. Anne’s physical education teacher, volunteered to be the team’s head coach along with some parent volunteers. Keller has been active in sports his entire life. He played sports in grade school and college and has previous coaching experience.
After forming the team, the next step was to purchase supplies, since the school had basically no baseball equipment.
“We told the parents there would be some startup costs, because we didn’t have any equipment like catcher’s equipment, helmets, bats, and baseballs,” Stanke said.
He said the school asked if there was anyone interested in contributing to help get the program started and the school quickly received several donations of equipment and money.
Keller said the team has received a lot of support from parents and the community.
The team has enough equipment to get started and caps and uniforms have been ordered.
St. Anne’s has joined the Catholic Athletic Association of St. Paul, Minn.
Stanke predicts the team will be playing other Catholic teams on the eastside of the metro.
Keller said the team will likely play two games a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and possibly some Saturday games.
There are all experience levels on the team, but Keller says everyone is eager to learn.
The team has been practicing after school for about three weeks and Keller says the players seem to be having fun while improving their skills.
The season will start the week of April 16 and will finish around the end of the school year.
There weren’t enough girls interested in slow pitch or fast pitch softball, but Stanke and Keller are hoping interest will grow for next year.
“I think once the buzz about baseball and sports at St. Anne’s gets going there will be more interest from the younger grades,” Keller said.
He says coaching goes along with teaching, and if he’s capable and there is enough support, he’s interested in getting involved with coaching other types of sports team.
St. Anne’s is going to offer some athletic and academic summer school courses.
Keller is going to teach baseball basics, taking your baseball skills to the next level, basketball basics, taking your basketball skills to the next level, flag football basics, flag football skills development, soccer basics and taking your soccer skills to the next level.
St. Anne’s staff member Vicki Olson is teaching what’s cooking, messy science, handwriting heroes, secrets to success, creative writing and creating books.
Keller says the summer courses are a good way to keep the students connected over the summer months.
Each course costs $25.
For more information about the courses, contact the school at 715-247-3762 or email Stanke at rstanke@ stanne-somerset.org. The registration deadline for summer camps is May 1. Students who register for four courses by April 15 may take a fifth camp/course for free.
Fun fact: Stanke was Keller’s grade school principal at St. Rose in Roseville, Minn.