Middle school flag football teams across Los Angeles take to the field each autumn to play in the FIYA League. For over two months, teams throughout the city compete, until two face off in the playoffs. This year, the victors were our very own Downtown Value and Everest Value schools!
With support from the Fitzberg Foundation, both Downtown Value and Everest Value have had the opportunity to participate in citywide sports. Although our campuses are relatively small compared to other schools in their divisions, Value Schools’ campuses pride themselves as being contenders year-round.
They worked hard and never gave up. That’s what it’s all about! Seeing what might be and working hard to succeed. That’s what Value Schools stands for. That’s what the kids do every day.”
– Everest Value Coach Roberto Sanchez
Downtown Value entered the FIYA Division 1A Westside League playoffs with an impressive undefeated streak of 9-0. Everest Value trailed only slightly with the second-highest point spread of 7-1. Each took to the field against one another for the championship game at Frank Parent Elementary in Inglewood.
Downtown Value players were confident from the first play. But facing off against students whom they knew and spent time was not as easy as they had thought. Everest Value was ready, and the skills, speed and passion of Everest players helped propel them to the lead in the first quarter.
By mid-game, Downtown Value tied the score, but was never able to overtake Everest Value. Everest pulled ahead in the second half and didn’t look back, clenching the win, 26-14!
Downtown Value staff Henry Martinez was honest about how his team felt. “It would have been better if we had that trophy,” he admitted. “But sports isn’t just about winning or loosing. It’s about taking a loss and coming back stronger the next season. And it’s good for the players to experience both sides. It’s about getting back up and never quitting. It’s about living the Values and becoming a better person.”
“I’m so proud of our team,” said Everest Value coach Roberto Sanchez. “They worked hard and never gave up. That’s what it’s all about! Seeing what might be and working hard to succeed. That’s what Value Schools stands for. That’s what the kids do every day.”
“I’m glad the trophy stayed with Value Schools,” continued Martinez, “and in the end we all win."
Long-term success requires healthy bodies as well as healthy minds. With the Fitzberg Foundation grant, Value Schools is now better equipped to maintain a full complement of team athletics at both its K-8 schools and encourage widespread participation in healthy activities.
But these activities are not a frill! We believe “healthy bodies, healthy minds” to be more than just a slogan, and that our schools must take the lead. Students face a wide range of health challenges. Obesity in America, for example, is reaching crisis proportions, and especially so among the groups Value Schools serves – Latino and low-income children. Our Team Sports program tackles that issue head-on!
Most students at Downtown Value School and Everest Value School participate in Physical Education for 180 minutes (three classes) per week, with supplemental programs such as Running Club for the K-6 students and our Students Run LA Club, in which 7th and 8th graders train for the Los Angeles Marathon.
Sports isn’t just about winning or loosing. It’s about taking a loss and coming back stronger the next season. And it’s good for the players to experience both sides. It’s about getting back up and never quitting. It’s about living the Values and becoming a better person.”
– Downtown Value Coach Henry Martinez
And there are collateral benefits of team athletics! Along with healthy bodies, athletic participation brings academic benefits that raise achievement levels. Physical activity improves cognitive skills, concentration, attention, and attitude – all of which help improve academic achievement.
“School work always comes first,” explained Martinez, “and sports is a way to make sure kids stay engaged. To participate in sports, each student has high academic expectations. They’ve got to keep up with their studies if they want to be on the team.”
Athletic participation also builds social skills and develops character. Sports can increase self-esteem, encourage goal setting, and bring out leadership skills in children who may not yet excel in the classroom. And they provide success opportunities for children who will never be at the top of the class in academics, yet will develop into fine citizens and leaders.
The gift of $25,000 from The Fitzberg Foundation allows Value Schools to maintain a tradition of athletic and academic excellence. We are deeply grateful for the continued support given to Value Schools by the Fitzberg Foundation and Dan Rothenberg!
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|U.S. News and World Report Silver Medal School||Value Schools is a proud member of the California Charter Schools Association and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)|