December 15th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Elementary Excellence: St. Aloysius Gonzaga
photo from St. Aloysius Gonzaga Academy

 AD treasures time and journey with athletes

The following feature is a part of a weekly 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.

For the past thirteen years, Athletic Director Ron Ray has led his Falcons to flight in the Shepherdsville, Kentucky area.

“When I took over as AD, there was a rumor that the school was thinking about shutting down the athletic program if someone didn’t come in and take it over. So, I took it over, and I’ve been in the position ever since. I feel very strongly about giving these kids programs with adult supervision. This is how I give back,” said Ray.

Ray has a strong background with St. Aloysius and sports. With four children (two currently in school at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Academy), along with a wife who is an alum and current secretary at the school, he says he had specific goals when he took over as AD.

“We added cross country, track and archery since I’ve been here,” said Ray. “I wanted to make sure we did everything the right way to follow all of the rules and guidelines, and I wanted to get all the kids involved no matter the skill level to compete. We are very family oriented with a close-knit group of kids.”

St. Aloysius Gonzaga Academy Athletic Teams compete within the Mid-Kentucky Conference along with grade schools such as St. Gregory and St. Dominic. While the school has dealt with dwindling numbers the past few years, Ray says he has great memories of success and looks to continue victories in the future.

“I’m very proud of our participation. When we had 170 kids at the school in the past, more than 100 kids played basketball alone,” said Ray. “The majority of our children have gotten involved in sports with about 80% participating in something. We’ve been very successful in basketball as we won a 6th grade city championship a few years ago. We were runner up another year, and several teams have made it to the final four.”

Ray has worked hard during his time as AD to implement sports for kindergarten through second graders with partnerships to leagues in the area. He also helped jumpstart renovations to the school’s gymnasium for all of the parish’s use that the school is extremely proud of today.

With new additions and improvements through the years, he says he is particularly excited about a new development this school year for the Falcons.

“We just started a cheerleading program. The majority of the cheerleaders are kindergarten through second graders, and they cheer at even the seventh and eighth graders’ games. It’s great for the young girls and for the school to start that program,” said Ray.

With roughly 50% of the Falcons continuing their education at Bethlehem High School, and then others going onto schools such as St. Xavier, DeSales and Mercy Academy, Ray says he wants to help prepare as many young ones as possible for success in athletics and life.

Said Ray: “I love being around the kids. I’ve coached for close to twenty years. When you have a kid give you a hug that is now a nurse or teacher, you know you’ve been able to touch lives. Sometimes these kids come from broken homes, and athletics can give them experiences they may not have otherwise experienced. As far as for the future of our school, I would love to see the numbers of students come back and to be able to offer sports across the board to all age groups.”

 

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