Three cheers for the St. Stephen’s field hockey team, which hosted an Olympic competition on Aug. 23 for residents of Marbridge, a local nonprofit living community for adults with a range of cognitive disabilities. Eleventh grade student Abbie Prewitt, a three-year varsity team member who plays midfield, conceived and pulled together the entire event.
“Abbie’s leadership and initiative in planning the Olympics Day for Marbridge residents was phenomenal,” said Chelsea Richards, field hockey program director. “She communicated details with Marbridge and helped organize teammates to create an event that really made an impact for our visitors.
“From recycling past Spartan jerseys to awarding medals at the end of the day, her attention to detail and compassionate heart are what made the event a success,” Richards added. “I am so glad she shares her passion for serving our community with the hockey program.”
During the two-hour competition, Spartan athletes and their Marbridge friends divided into teams, created team names and a cheer, and played a number of games together in Clayton Gym. The Olympians shot basketballs, ran an obstacle course and relay races, and played floor hockey, of course! This exciting community-building event concluded with all the athletes sharing snacks and drinks before the final awards ceremony.
St. Stephen’s students have a long history of partnering with Marbridge residents on group activities. More than a decade ago, our varsity football players teamed up with Marbridge players for joint practices and invited them to watch one of our home games. In addition, the 10th grade class volunteers at Marbridge every year during their class service day. Spartans also regularly invite residents to campus to play board games, work on crafts and share a meal in the dining hall. However, the capstone event of the year for everyone is the Marbridge prom, which our students have hosted every spring for the last eight years.
“I first became involved with Marbridge as a 9th grader and I joined Student Government,” Prewitt explained. “It was one of the first things Ms. Coe told me about. Her excitement for the annual Marbridge prom, which the school hosts each spring, made me realize how truly amazing a community it must be. I couldn't wait to be involved. Ever since that first conversation with Ms. Coe, and later my first participation in the Marbridge prom, I have fallen in love with the organization and the residents’ positivity and sense of fun.”
Jon McCain, director of athletics, called Prewitt’s initiative commendable. “Abbie’s leadership and passion in her work with our friends at Marbridge was inspiring to me personally as an educator,” he said. “But what was most inspiring was that Abbie came up with the idea and did 100 percent of the organization with her friends and only relied on adults in the community for advice and guidance.
“Student-led efforts in service work always have the greatest impact on everyone involved,” McCain added. “This work with Marbridge was a perfect example of how individual students can make a difference for the better in the lives of others.”
Many thanks to all the players, coaches and community members who showed up to support the Marbridge Olympians!