Honestly, Just Go for It

by Scott Hunt, Director of Development and Alumnae/i

"If you build it, they will come," is the famous line uttered by Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams when he builds a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield. This motto is also true on the campus of The White Mountain School, where two students, Sadie Thomas '23 and Yari Mejia '24, have recently spearheaded the creation of a softball team. Like all great things at White Mountain, the creation of this sport embodies the three pillars of our mission: curiosity, courage, and compassion.

During her first admission tour of the school, Yari's curiosity led her to ask if softball existed at the School as it is one of her favorite sports. Yari recalls, "I asked the girl who was touring me if there was a softball team, and she responded with, 'No, but you can start one if you want. This school is the type of school where if you want something done, you just go for it.' I started playing softball at a young age, and I knew it was something I loved and did not want to let go of. I thought a lot about starting a team, even before I had got accepted into White Mountain. I was scared, but I took a leap of faith, and now there are 10 girls on the team whose love for softball is growing as big as my own." It is the courage to take that first step towards a desired goal that is fostered daily throughout campus.

Athletic and co-curricular activities, which students spend their afternoons participating in during Sports Block, and clubs and other activities on campus ebb and flow based on students' interest. However, what remains constant is the support from faculty and staff with a "can-do" approach for new initiatives. Yari describes the process of establishing the softball sport, "Surprisingly, the biggest step it took was courage. I first started talking to people around campus to see if they were interested in playing softball. I wanted to make sure I had a good amount of people who wanted to play before I brought it up to Ian, the director of athletics. As I found more people who wanted to play, I spoke to Ian, and he said as long as enough people sign up, I could do it. A couple of days later, Ian sent out the spring sports sign-up sheet and nine girls had signed up, which meant I had enough to play softball. After we got enough people to sign up, there was a search for a coach, who ended up being Emily, which worked out extremely well because she has experience in softball and she is an amazing coach!"


And it was the compassionate approach to building the team that makes it successful. Sadie talks about recruiting members of the team, "I just made sure that we had a good amount of people and made sure that they knew that they don't have to be perfect. I made sure that I got new people to join, and the success of the team is that we are all having fun and that even though not everyone knows how to play, they are still having a good time." Yari adds, "The experience has been great. Everyone on the team has been really involved and has brought amazing energy to the field each practice. The energy that the girls bring out to the field makes setting up softball easy and fun."

With the first month of softball completed successfully, we asked both Sadie and Yari about their reflections on creating it. Yari feels, "The greatest challenge of creating the team was finding the confidence to start the team and stop having doubts about it. The greatest success was realizing I made the team work and that I had the confidence to do it. I found the people to play, and everyone enjoys playing. Every day the girls learn something new on the field, and while learning, we are also having fun." And Sadie offers this bit of guidance, "You just need to know who to talk to and when it comes to getting people to join, it's easier because this is a small school, and word spreads quickly."

So what is in the future for these two students, and what advice do they offer to others about starting a new sport or club on campus? The answers are a debate club, all-gender softball club, or a basketball club, to name just a few of their ideas. And how will they accomplish this or encourage others to do so? For Yari, it is simple, "The advice I would give is, honestly, just go for it. Reach out if you need help! The White Mountain School is definitely a place where if you want something done, you go for it, and they will help you make it happen. I would also say: don’t be scared! I know it is easier said than done, but with the help I had as a freshman, I have no doubt in my mind that anyone else would not get the same support. With the support of faculty and staff on campus, I was able to get help with starting the team. I felt like everyone that I reached out for help gave me the help I needed." Sadie echoes this optimistic view by adding, "Don't be scared to voice your ideas. Ian and John are very nice, and they don't bite. Once you get your idea out there and get people to talk about it, more people will hear about it and think, 'Oh, that sounds fun' or 'That's new, I might try it.'

Founded in 1886 and set in the beautiful White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, The White Mountain School is a gender-inclusive, college-preparatory boarding and day school for 140 students grades 9-12/PG. Our mission is to be a school of inquiry and engagement. Grounded in an Episcopal heritage, White Mountain prepares and inspires students to lead lives of curiosity, courage, and compassion.