With her first season as head varsity softball coach at Carrollton High School under way, Cali Barron is leading her players to success both on and off the field.
Barron implemented what she calls “Trojan Tuesdays” where she teaches her players a life skill after practice.
“We typically take about 10-15 minutes after practice every Tuesday to learn a new skill, but when we play on Tuesdays, I try to have them on Monday or Wednesday,” she said. “So far we have written thank you cards, learned how to properly shake a hand, and also learned how to write a check.”
Barron also noted most of the life skills she is hoping to teach the girls are skills that are often overlooked but are important.
“It is so easy to get caught up in sports and forget about skills that will be needed once softball is over,” she said. “I think it is important for our girls to understand skills outside of their sport and skills they will use for the rest of their lives.”
Preparing students for life after high school is a priority at CHS. Last spring, the school held its first “Senior Adulting Day” for graduating seniors. The event featured 16 different stations for seniors to visit to learn anything from sewing on a button to changing a tire to understanding the basics on how to take out a loan to buy a car.
CHS Assistant Principal and Career, Technical and Agricultural Director Elizabeth Sanders headed up the event with help from other school support staff who work closely with students on a daily basis.
“The senior students were very engaged during the event,” said Sanders. “During the planning phase, we really tried to alternate hands-on and listening stations so the students kept their engagement throughout the duration of the event. The volunteers did an amazing job with teaching the seniors skills they should know upon graduation. The students were very respectful and engaged in every single station.”
Other stations included details about obtaining insurance, maintaining HVAC systems, correcting a tripped electrical breaker, setting a formal table (and how to practice proper dining etiquette), writing a check, understanding credit cards, dressing professionally, understanding basic construction skills, understanding professional interaction skills, filing taxes, maintaining fitness and health, and how to find a good, affordable place to live.
CHS Athletic Director Paul Fitz-Simons said he is proud of Coach Barron for investing in her athletes outside of softball.
“Coach Barron is pouring into her players not only by being a good softball coach but by also coaching them on skills they will need in life to be successful,” he said. “I am proud of her for taking the initiative to work with these young ladies and help them grow.”
Senior Kyla Harley said she thinks Barron’s Trojan Tuesdays are important because it teaches her teammates and herself skills they might not know yet.
“A lot of people our age don’t know how to do this kind of stuff,” she said. “It’s nice to learn how to do these things now so we will be more prepared for the real world after high school.”
Kyla added, “The lesson on proper handshaking is my favorite so far.”
Barron noted that confidence is important both on the field and in life.
“I want my girls to know they are more than just softball players,” she said. “My hope is that they will carry these life skills with them long after playing softball and they will be able to take something from these Trojan Tuesdays. I am very excited to continue to do these lessons and continue molding them into strong females who are confident in everything they do.”