January 27th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Andrew Academy

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Elementary Excellence: St. Andrew Academy
photo from St. Andrew Academy

Local elementary school setting the bar across the board

The following feature is a part of a LouisvilleCatholicSports.com series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

St. Andrew Academy Assistant Athletic Director Clinton Carrier puts hours upon hours into making sure games are ready to go week-to-week.

And while he jokes that he does it all for the home fries in the concessions stand (not to be mistaken with the crinkle fries), he mentions there is a deeper reason for his dedication.

“We take pride in our athletics and the facilities,” said Carrier. “Our football field looks like the St. X or Trinity field. It’s the best grade school field I’ve seen, and it probably beats half the high school fields in Jefferson County.”

Carrier attended St. Polycarp in the 1990’s, before the school merged with Our Lady of Consolation and St. Clement to form Saint Andrew Academy in 2005.

St. Andrew Academy, located in Southwest Louisville, is a Catholic elementary school dedicated to serving its 288 students.

Just like other Catholic grade schools, St. Andrew Academy helps young children develop academically, spiritually and physically. Carrier says he enjoys participating on the athletic board now as much as when he actually played sports in grade school.

“I started helping out coaching with seventh and eighth grade football there. Then, a couple years later, I started to take on the basketball coordinator role,” said Carier. “After that, I was asked to become the assistant Athletic Director, and I love it. I have the time to help out with the kids, so I look forward to it.”

SAA Principal Suzanne Miller says she is thrilled with the athletic department and how they encourage young athletes to commit to their studies and their teams.

“All of the parents and athletic staff are extremely giving with their time. This is my fourth year here, and I’ve never seen anything like it. The coaches know academics come first, and they teach the kids what’s important, including community service and prayer before games,” said Miller. “Our athletic department has become more and more organized the longer I’ve been here.  When the three grade schools merged, there were different ideas and traditions. Over the years, I’ve seen the ideas and programs all come together.”

St. Andrew Academy has an athletic board made up of 15 people – a group that relies on parents and support staff, including Athletic Director Scott Arnold. The staff is an all-volunteer group, and Carrier credits the parent leadership for its success.

“Since I graduated from grade school in 1995, the passion for the sports is still the same. But the athletics has grown a lot since then. We used to have just baseball, cheerleading, softball, basketball and football. Now, we offer many different sports and a good number of kids play,” said Carrier. “When we need a new coach, parents step up to do it.”

The athletic board ensures that every position is carried out efficiently.

“Each role is taken care of, from Brian Kelty, who takes care of the concessions stand, to the scoreboards and clocks,” said Carrier. “Our volunteers each known their specifics roles. We have some people that have helped for years, like ‘Mr.P’ and Dave Riggs, who have coached basketball for about 25 years. There is tradition here.”

The athletic board for St. Andrew Academy gets together regularly to bring up ideas, which will hopefully add excitement to games at the school. Carrier says that making sure the student athletes have a great experience is a priority.

“I can speak for our board when I say that we remember the fun aspects of playing sports. When I think of what we can do, I think if I would personally like this or that idea,” said Carrier. “For an example, I introduce the players at basketball games like a full college introduction with music. I think about my personal favorite part of UL (University of Louisville) games, and the introduction is it.”

St. Andrew Academy has seen success in years past with great basketball and baseball tradition. In addition, the school’s cross-country teams have won state and city titles over the last few years. But Carrier says that the football field is one facility that stands out and shines for the school.

“This past season, for the first Sunday of football, we played with stencils and paint to get the field the way we wanted it.  We worked six hours to make sure it was done right,” said Carrier. “That field is a daily project. Field Manager Todd Ray helps out with it all of the time. “Seed, fertilizer, and everything else, it gets done. Over the past few years, we have made sure to take very good care of the grass.”

Even with practice, homework and family commitment, the athletic department makes sure to include community service in the young lives of the grade school students.

“All of our teams are required to complete one service project a year,” said Carrier. “This past Christmas, all of our basketball teams, 15 in total, met at Target on Dixie Highway with their uniforms on to participate in Angel Tree. The teams each raised around $200 dollars by doing chores and other fundraising to earn money. We want them to work together and know the priorities.”

Carrier says he looks forward to seeing how the athletics will continue to improve from now until the future. He wants to help all of the programs have fun in the meantime.

Said Carrier: “I want to make sure we do great introductions at all of the sporting events like we do at basketball games. I love to see the kids’ faces when their names are called. As for my role, I realized that I’m not just on a board, but my board members are my friends, and they are just as dedicated to the kids as I am.”

 

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