EducationPrivate Schools

How Sports Help Students Adjust to a New School
Metro Atlanta’s private schools prioritize teamwork and building friendships through sports

It’s no secret that a move is tough for the whole family, but it’s often most challenging for children to adjust to life after relocation. Switching schools and making new friends in a new community can be stressful, so it’s important to do everything you can to make them feel comfortable in their new learning environment. Aside from working with school officials to ensure a smooth transition, participating in a sport or athletic activity is one of the best ways to get your student acclimated. Even if your student didn’t participate in any sports at her previous school, why not try something new in your new city?

Most metro Atlanta schools offer a range of athletic extracurricular activities, with many focused on building key character traits like sportsmanship and teamwork — all while keeping your kid active and heart-healthy. Below, several Atlanta area private school leaders and athletic directors share information about their sports offerings and explain why joining an athletic team after a move could be a homerun for your child.

In north Fulton County’s bustling suburb of Alpharetta, covenant Christian private school Bridgeway Christian Academy offers active opportunities for its Pre-K through middle school students, specifically focusing on extracurricular activities in the fifth through eighth grade. The school offers several sporting options in every season, including volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, swimming, tennis, golf and track. In addition, Bridgeway hosts one-day tournaments in flag football, boys’ volleyball, dodgeball, ultimate Frisbee, chess and disc golf.

“BCA’s mission is for all students to know, grow and go,” Head of School George Dempsey says. “Athletics offer an incredible opportunity for new students to join in with returning students in their quest to grow not only physically and athletically, but socially.”

Dempsey adds school leaders maintain that an interscholastic athletic program provides a vehicle for all athletes, whether new to the school or returning, to honor Jesus Christ and become more Christ-like. “Athletic success is not only measured by the scoreboard and one’s performance, but is also measured in terms of spiritual growth and the development of team members,” he says

Van Keys, Bridgeway’s athletic director, adds that the benefits of playing sports are vital to the development of students. “Not only do they learn the sport they also learn teamwork, group before individual, sacrifice, discipline, and great spiritual mentoring from our coaches.”

Keys, who was previously involved in public high school athletics for 32 years, says he can see the difference Bridgway’s program makes in the lives of students. Some of the lessons the program aims to teach include how to win with humility and lose with grace, to develop a commitment to excellence — both in athletics and in the classroom — as well as a strong team spirit that guides athletes to grow their encouragement, respect and acceptance of their teammates.

Girl’s soccer at Strong Rock Christian School

South of Atlanta in Henry County, Strong Rock Christian School, a private PK3-12 Christian school, offers a wide range of sports on the varsity, junior varsity and academy levels. As a Georgia High School Association member school, Strong Rock offers the following sports: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, equestrian, football, golf, shooting, soccer, softball, tennis, track, volleyball, and wrestling.

“Athletics strengthen the character, attitude, and athletic ability of our student athletes,” says Athletic Director Tommy Webb. “Through participation in team sports, students learn not only athletic skills necessary to successfully compete, but also fundamental life skills that will remain with them throughout their lives.” Webb adds that his staff strongly believes that every student has the potential to contribute to the success of any team or event, and he encourages students to explore the athletic offerings at Strong Rock.

Situated just north of Atlanta’s perimeter in Sandy Springs, The Alfred and Adele Davis Academy is a reform Jewish pre-K-8 school, offering plenty of athletic opportunities for students in its middle school grades through the Metro Atlanta Athletic Conference. On the field and in the gym, students at The Davis Academy share in the camaraderie of playing on a team and are encouraged to make fitness a part of their healthy lifestyle, according to the school’s website. Sportsmanship and doing one’s best, regardless of skill level, are vital components of the school’s overall athletics program at every age level.

The Davis Academy offers boys’ and girls’ soccer, baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, co-ed cross country, co-ed track and field, golf, tennis and girls’ volleyball. “Sports participation allows a student to be in an activity that they enjoy and in environment where they are interacting with others,” says Davis Academy Director of Athletics Loren Spalding. “This is an excellent way to make it easier to transition into a new school and form new relationships.”

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