February 3rd, 2012

Elementary Excellence: St. Raphael

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Raphael
photo courtesy of Carolyn Halvarson

Giants, Halvarson excited about growing sports

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.

As Louisville starts to feel spring in the air this week, Assistant Athletic Director Carolyn Halvarson says she’s more than excited for the next sports season on the rise.


“We are getting ready for all of the spring sports including swimming, track, volleyball and soccer,” “It’s the one time of the year every grade is participating in a sport (soccer) kindergarten through 8th grade,” said Halvarson.


In addition, Halvarson said she is excited about an upcoming sport in the area that has created quite some hype in the St. Raphael Parish area.


“Lacrosse is not sanctioned through the CSAA yet, but lots of schools are interested in it. This is our fourth year with lacrosse, and we were one of the first schools to have it. We started with one team, and it’s just been catching on like wild fire. We love all our sports, but lacrosse is exciting because it’s new and it’s fun to see the students and parents learn the game.”


Halvarson, who works with Athletic Director John Plumeri, said her Giants are moving into the spring off of a successful fall and winter season. In her first year as basketball coordinator, Halvarson said she is proud specifically of the annual basketball tournament she chaired in 2011 over the holidays.


“We have our teams participate, and it’s a great feeling right around Christmas season. The tournament is what basketball is all about. We have this program for the kids to develop their skills. The parents love hosting the event, and there is a certain sense of pride around it.”


This year, in its fourth year of the event, there was an addition to the facility that made it even more special for St. Raphael.


“Our booster club was recently able to fund new bleachers in the gym. We were able to have them right before the tournament and it created a huge sense of community and pride,” said Halvarson.


With 23 basketball teams this year including teams offered to pre-k and kindergarten for the first time ever, Halvarson says basketball is a popular program at the school. Yet, no matter which sport, she says she just wants the kids to all have a chance to participate.


“It’s absolutely for the kids. I have a son in the eighth grade now, and I give my time because I love the kids,” said Halvarson. “I believe the kids get their spiritual growth by going to Catholic school, they get an education by going to a Blue Ribbon School, such as St. Raphael, and the third element they need is a physical mentality as well.  An active lifestyle is what the sports program here is all about.”


St. Raphael has paired up with John Paul Academy this year to work together in the sports arena. And Halvarson said the Giants will look to work with John Paul Academy and St. Agnes this spring to help the other schools field teams for lacrosse.


No matter which sport or season, Halvarson says she enjoys being in the middle of the action.


Said Halvarson: “Your time with your children is short lived, and it’s a fleeting moment because they grow up fast. The rewards to volunteer far out way the lack of sleep. And to volunteer so much time to our athletes here, well, it’s just what this is all about.”


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