This week, Pinecrest High School Junior, Sophie Hirtle, was selected to attend The First Tee National Life Skills and Leadership Academy in East Lansing, Michigan from July 26 to August 1. Sophie will join more than 90 juniors from The First Tee, ages 14 – 17, to participate in this national event.
The Academy will provide participants valuable character education and leadership instruction through-out the week-long event. Participants will have the opportunity to develop and hone skills to become leaders in their chapters, schools and communities while experiencing championship golf, career exploration and dorm living on campus at Michigan State University.
We were thrilled that Sophie has been selected for her first national event. She has grown from a bubbly, enthusiastic and quick-to-action teen; to a young lady that is thorough in decision making, well versed in her presentation and emerging as a confident future leader.
As part of the application process, Sophie was asked to write an essay on a time in her life where she applied STAR, an acronym for Stop – Think – Anticipate – Respond. Sophie, an avid runner and member of the Pinecrest HS track team, reflected on a competitive experience she had earlier this spring.
Here’s how she explained her experience, “I signed up to run a 10k Road Race when I was faced with an immense decision mid-race. The week prior, my ankle was hurting for unknown reasons, but bearable. Race day had arrived, I felt confident to run on my ankle and set off from the starting line.
Two miles in, my ankle started to throb. It was extremely painful. I pushed on, denying the possibility that I would have to stop or even quit the race. Soon, the pain increased to the point that I could not run any longer.
At that moment, I had to fall back on STAR. I mentally anticipated the fact that I may have an ankle that could be seriously injured. My response was to choose my health over my pride.
I stopped the race, making the difficult, but right, decision to be cautious over my health versus pushing through to the finish. This was the first time I would have to quit a race and I was struggling with facing this reality.
With the help of fellow racers, I made my way back to the last police officer where he called an ambulance to come pick me up.
While today I’m still disappointed I didn’t get to finish the race, I know that using STAR allowed me to feel good about making the right decision to end the race early. Plus, there is always next year to compete!”
While Sophie, and other participants of The First Tee, learn life skills through the game of golf, they are able to positively apply these learned lessons into other areas of their life – for Sophie, her passion for running – enhancing skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.
Congratulations to Sophie Hirtle. We look forward to following up on her experience in Michigan later this year.