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Grade 8: Sports Are Back at Graland! (Athlete Q&A)

After a long year without Eagle student-athletes on the court and field, Graland's Assistant Director of Athletics, Jenn Adams, is proud to announce that "The fall season looks very similar to those of the past, with one exception. There is, without a doubt, a tremendous feeling of excitement in the air this year! Students, coaches, and parents have missed Graland's athletic program, and I am so happy to say WE ARE BACK! GO GRALAND!"
With extensive health and safety protocols in place, Graland was able to bring back an essential piece of the Grade 6-8 student experience: Athletics. "Our program gives Graland students the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills, learn about the importance of teamwork, develop communication skills, and it provides a safe space where students can take risks," Coach Adams said. "We teach our athletes about the importance of focusing on a goal, and we help to develop their self-esteem. These are the crucial life skills that we want all of our athletes to take with them well beyond Graland's sports fields and courts." 

Coach Adams also shared that due to the impacts of COVID-19, students need safe physical and social outlets that can support their physical and mental wellbeing now more than ever. "The importance of adolescents being physically active cannot be understated," Coach Adams said. "Socially, Graland's athletic program provides many of our students a place where they can forge close friendships and tight bonds with coaches that can last well beyond the athletic season. These relationships are important for one's mental, emotional and physical health."

To share their excitement regarding the 2021-22 sports season, several Grade 8 athletes took the time to reflect on their experience as Graland Eagles. 

Grade 8 Athlete: Ilsa B. 

Q: What sports do you play at Graland? How long have you been playing this sport/sports?
A: I have been playing field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse for Graland since 6th grade. 

Q: What do you love about Graland Athletics?
A: The thing that I love most about Graland Athletics is being able to connect with friends and different grades on sports teams with who I otherwise wouldn't have interacted with. I also have really enjoyed being able to try new sports like basketball and field hockey. I have really loved every sports team I've been on at Graland.  

Q: Why is being an athlete important to you?
A: Being an athlete is important to me because I love to compete, and I truly enjoy getting stronger physically and mentally through sports. Being on a team at Graland is so fun because the team spirit is amazing, and I get to see a different side of my friends and teammates than I do in the classroom. 

Q: What is your favorite memory of playing sports at Graland?
A: Funny enough, tonight was the very first time our field hockey team won a game. We didn't get to play in 6th and 7th grade. We were just learning the game and had a lot of 0-0 games. This year, we have a combined team of 7th and 8th graders, and our team has improved so much just since pre-season. Tonight when the first goal was scored, our team and sidelines went crazy. I was playing goalie because of an injury, so hearing the ball hit the back of the goal at the other end of the field made my heart swell. Seeing my teammates hugging and cheering after the goal was something that I had missed for a full year.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most this year in sports?
A: I am looking forward to getting better as a team and bonding with girls at Graland over sports. The 7th graders have been an amazing addition to our field hockey team, and I am so excited to keep getting to know them. It has also been great to just get back to playing on a Graland team after not being able to for a full year.

Q: What will you miss the most about Graland sports when you graduate?
A: I am going to miss all of the team spirit and school spirit. Our team loves to chant and cheer for Graland in the locker room, on the bus, and on the sidelines. I am also going to miss the coaches. They are amazing coaches and teachers, and I have learned everything that I know about the sports that I've played here from them.

Q: Are you planning on playing sports in high school?
A: I am planning on playing field hockey and lacrosse in high school, as well as basketball. My Graland sports experience has been so positive that I want to make sure to keep my athletic career going through high school.

Grade 8 Athlete: Drew S. 

Q: What sports do you play at Graland? How long have you been playing this sport/sports?
A: I ran on the cross country team in 6th grade, I was on the basketball team in 6th grade, and I am on the 8th grade tennis team this fall. 

Q: What do you love about Graland Athletics?
A: I love how Graland Athletics gives you a chance to compete against other schools.

Q: Why is being an athlete important to you?
A: Being an athlete is important to me because I love competing and getting exercise.

Q: What is your favorite memory of playing sports at Graland?
A: I loved cross country because the meets were fun, and I created a lot of memories running at Cranmer Park every day.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most this year in sports?
A: I am looking forward to all of the tennis meets and the touch the fence drill at practice.

Q: What will you miss the most about Graland sports when you graduate? 
A: I will miss the great coaches and my teammates.

Q: Are you planning on playing sports in high school?
A: I am planning on playing tennis and running track and field.

Grade 8 Athlete: Olivia S. 

Q: What sports do you play at Graland? How long have you been playing this sport/sports?
A: The students at Graland have a variety of sports to participate in, but I chose to participate in volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter, and soccer in the spring. I have been playing soccer outside of school since I was 6, but I started Graland sports in 6th grade. 

Q: What do you love about Graland Athletics?
A: I love how Graland Athletics gives you an opportunity to play a sport with students you learn with, but also allows you to create a team bond with them. 

Q: Why is being an athlete important to you?
A: Being an athlete is important to me because it is an essential aspect of my life. Playing a sport creates new relationships, and it is a time to socialize. I love releasing my energy through playing a sport that I love, and it improves my mood! 

Q: What is your favorite memory of playing sports at Graland?
A: My favorite memory was when we used to ride the bus to away games, and the team would always get into pretty interesting conversations. 

Q: What are you looking forward to the most this year in sports?
A: This year, I am looking forward to being back at Graland and creating bonds with my teammates. Having games with other communities at other schools is so special and entertaining. Being back at the courts/ fields is such an amazing experience that I'll never forget.

Q: What will you miss the most about Graland sports when you graduate?
A: When I graduate, I will miss the community and relationships sports have made. I will especially miss the bonds I have made with my coaches throughout my entire Graland experience. I am so grateful for the opportunities that Graland sports give us, and I will advise anyone to partake even if you already play sports outside of school.

Q: Are you planning on playing sports in high school? 
A: Sports will always be an important aspect of my life, so I'm very excited to try out for sports in high school. Although they'll never be the same as Graland sports, they'll still positively contribute to my life. 

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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.