December 8th, 2011
Elementary Excellence: St. Dominic
Small Parish Family Backs Athletic Program
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 email@example.com.
Located in Springfield, Kentucky, Principal Pam Breunig says she is proud to be a part of a small Catholic School with a big tradition.
“St. Dominic Catholic School was founded in 1929,” said Breunig. “This is my 10th year as principal, and our student athletes have pride and determination. Numbers aside, these kids play with such heart and spirit.”
St. Dominic Catholic School has only 186 students from preschool to eighth grade. But still, Breunig says the desire for athletics is still easily seen on the courts and fields.
“We offer athletics to grades 4-8 in the Mid Kentucky Athletic Conference, and roughly a minimum of 50% are involved in sports in some way. We have basketball, volleyball, football, cheerleading, and baseball, said Breunig. “Before fourth grade, the younger students often participate in local youth or church leagues.”
Four people head the Knights’ Athletic Program up this year including: John and Rose Haydon and Mark and Denita Simms.
Breunig, as principal, says she works well with her parent involved athletic committee.
“The parent involvement is one of the most successful parts of our athletic program,” said Breunig. “I have a public school teaching background, and I know how important that parent involvement is in schools. At St. Dominic, it carries over into athletics. These parents are involved and handle things well, and they work well with me. The whole parish is behind the athletics. The school and parish are a family, and that helps make better students and better athletes.”
St. Dominic Grade School administration and coaches instill in the athletes a sense of responsibility through putting schoolwork first, above any championship.
“Academics come first. These kids are student athletes, not just athletes. We focus on academics first. We also promote Christian values in all of the athletics programs. We have a Christian Student athlete award each year, and that goes to a student athlete that is a role model for other athletes,” said Breunig.
Breunig, who says that many of her students are interested in playing at the high school level go onto Washington County or Bethlehem High School. Her goals for her students are to simply watch them succeed in their interests and maintain Christian values while doing it.
“I want my student athletes to stay healthy,” said Breunig. “And I always want them to represent us well by their quality of character on the courts. We want all of the students to be involved in some interest outside of academics as well to stay active.”
With a recent gymnasium addition on campus after 8o years without one, Breunig says she is excited about the parish community’s recent ability to be more active in general, as well as space for the school’s practices.
“About a year and ½ ago, the new gym was built as part of the $3 million Capital Campaign for our parish,” said Breunig. “It’s now used as a parish community center, our physical education program, and also for all athletic events. It’s a wonderful facility. We don’t know what we did without it, and we’re so proud of it.”
And moving forward for the rest of the school year and beyond, Breunig says she continues to remember why St. Dominic Grade School is so important to her and the parish family.
Said Breunig: “A classic example of our student athletes is that we had fourteen kids grades 5-8 who showed up for football this year. That’s the bare minimum. But, we finished second in our division. Every team we played had twenty more kids (minimum) than we did. And the people that came to watch the games from the parish or even former alumni just wanted to see these kids play with all that heart. It’s interesting to see how our team played knowing the other teams have deeper benches. Our kids on this football team never sat down. They just have so much heart.”