May 19th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Martha

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Martha
photo from St. Martha Elementary School

Shamrocks offering intramural sports options

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

Dave Arnold has a rich history engrained around St. Martha Elementary School. Now, as president of the board, he sees a new era of athletics with the values he remembers as a Shamrock himself.

“St. Martha has a lot of alumni back at school with their own families. A lot of the families within the parish don’t live within traditional parish boundaries. They moved away, but they come back to the school. I think it’s because of the family atmosphere,” said Arnold.

And as many St. Martha alumni find their way back around the school from childhood, Arnold says that history has influenced the athletic program in a positive way.

“One of our football coaches really preaches that to kids that ‘You can be a part of this, I won a toy bowl here and you can too’,” said Arnold. “With these teams, these kids are your classmates, but also friends for a long time.”

St. Martha, located in the Hikes Point area of Louisville, offers a multitude of sports for students from basketball to track. Arnold says that along with great volunteer involvement from parents and the community, the boys athletic director Mike Ellison and girls athletic director Amy Ackermann really help facilitate a well organized program. The school is looking to add a first and second grade athletic program starting next year for the younger crowd.

“We would like to add soccer and basketball as intramural programs for grades one and two,” said Arnold. “We would want our more experienced coaches to guide the instruction for the young ones, and we are always looking for more coaches to get involved.”

As far as success for the older classmen, the Shamrocks have had their fair share.

“We’ve had success in different sports from a championship in track to a football toy bowl championship a couple years ago. We had a baseball city championship at the fourth grade level two years ago, an eighth grade girls volleyball champs three years ago. We’ve won our share of titles across the board,” said Arnold.

Along with success throughout a variety of sports, Arnold says the St. Martha community has worked hard to build up the facilities. The outdoor arena is one highlight for the school area.

“We have a great football field, and we host a lot of games,” said Arnold. “We’ve done renovations with a new drainage system, reseed and regrade of the field, a screen around the fence, press box and new concession stand. We also use our outdoor sports complex in many ways including a full adult schedule in the summer, and we gain revenue from our concession stands. Our outdoor facility fuels our program.”

As St. Martha moves into the 2011-12 school year, Arnold says he will continue to promote the values of the Catholic school background.

“We don’t stress winning as much as working together as a team,” said Arnold. “We stress family and academics. The overall attitude is that we are in this together, and we’ll get it done.”

And for the future of the Shamrocks, Arnold has a few ideas for the teams.

“As we move forward, we want coaches all working together using the same terminology. As the kids progress, we want them learning the same language in the sports. For facilities, we would love to expand our gym down the road. And with faith, we are working with the campus minister to get prayers more into the games and practices so we ultimately remember what it’s all about.”


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