June 24th, 2011
Elementary Excellence: St. Rita
Elementary facility rivals the nicest on any level in Louisville
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Rita has a rich history as a Catholic grade school in the Louisville area. The campus was founded in 1921. And the school's athletic department follows suit with leaders who have served the Mustang community for years.
“This will be my 34th year coaching,” said Girls’ Athletic Director Carolyn Patton. “I coached in softball, and now I coach volleyball. I got used to working with the people so much that they are like family. Kids I coached come back and now they have kids. It’s a family oriented place for me. Just a place I love to be.”
Patton, along with Boys’ Athletic Director Bill Budde, works to help young student athletes succeed on and off the courts.
“The first thing to teach is how to win and how to lose. Some people make winning everything and it’s not,” said Patton. “As a coach, your school, your grades, and participation in class are a priority. If you want to play sports, you have to do well in the classroom. I like to see the grades and make sure they are where they are supposed to be.”
Along with a priority in education, Patton says while the numbers of students at St. Rita have fallen off in recent years, she still looks for the athletes to pursue excellence.
“We want to be accomplished in everything we try. The girls have been successful over the years in cheerleading. And our basketball has always been good. Our coaches are outstanding, and we try to encourage the kids. When we had more kids, we were AAA, and we were very competitive. We haven’t been as competitive because of numbers, but we do the best with the kids who are there and playing,” said Patton.
St. Rita’s intramural program for the young ones is important to Patton as well, as she says those first years can help the student athletes jump start their athletic careers.
“Kindergarten,1,2 have a basketball program and volleyball for girls. It’s the best thing ever with these little guys out there,” said Patton. “Basketball is coed. We’ve started flag football as well for them too. The scoreboard means nothing to them, and they are out there to participate and play. At the third and fourth grade levels, that’s where kids need to learn fundamentals.”
For St. Rita’s athletes, Patton says the facilities are exceptional to help the kids have fun and learn those essential fundamentals.
“They are outstanding,” said Patton. “Every year people tell us, especially football, it’s as good as any high school facility. It’s because of the guys who take care of it. Our softball facility is maintained the same way. We got new bleachers in gym last year, and they look great. Our funding comes from the booster club, fundraisers and fees to play sports, and we try to provide the best uniforms and equipment as we can. We don’t skimp on that type of stuff because we want our program to succeed.”
Patton, a competitive woman by nature, has the best intentions to keep the program scoring for years to come.
Said Patton: “I want to make sure when the kids leave my program, they go to the next level and they were taught the right way. I teach about attitudes, sportsmanship and parent involvement with kids. Ultimately, I want the students to become better people, and when they get out of high school, I want them to look back and see what we were trying to teach them.”