Features

0 442
Matt Burke shown on the field holding a football during the Dolphins game against the Steelers. | Submitted photo by Peter McMahon (Miami Dolphins)

by Siobhan Richards

For New Englanders, the football season was a time to root for the Patriots, especially when the Patriots played one of their AFC rivals, the Miami Dolphins, in Week 17 last year. In that game, however, Hudson football fans had to root for both teams.

Matt Burke, an HHS graduate and football captain from the Class of 1994, has climbed through the ranks of both collegiate and professional football to become the current defensive coordinator for the Dolphins.

Burke played football for most of his high school career as a safety and at quarterback his senior year. Burke also excelled in the classroom. He was the Class of 94’s valedictorian.

“That’s [Hudson] where it really started. I played other sports [basketball, baseball, and track],” Burke said, “but when I went to college, I knew football was the sport I was most passionate about.”  

Burke attended Dartmouth, where he played safety, and he was a part of an undefeated Ivy League championship team in 1996. At the time, coaching had not crossed his mind as a possible career.

“I took kind of a convoluted path to coaching,” Burke said. “When I left Hudson, I went to Dartmouth, and I kind of thought I was going to be a doctor or something. When I was in college, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved football.”

Burke began his coaching career at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine. From there, he worked as a graduate assistant coach at Boston College, where he received his masters degree. There, he also realized his passion for coaching and was determined to make a career out of it.

“Over the course of my time at BC, I was like, ‘All right, this is what I want to do.’ I don’t know if I ever really made a conscious effort to coach, but it just kept happening, and at some point I looked up and said, ‘Man, I want to make a career out of this,’” Burke said.

As he continued to coach, more opportunities opened up. While working as the assistant secondary coach at Harvard, his big break came.

“You never know when your break is going to come or when opportunity is going to rise, so you can’t really plan for it. But I told myself, ‘I’m going to work hard and be a good coach, and whomever I was working with would hopefully recognize that when a break did come,'” Burke said. “I told myself that I was going to coach as hard as I can and be as good as I can and let the breaks happen when they may. I just happened to get very lucky.”

Burke’s hard work paid off when Harvard recommended him for a coaching position at the Tennessee Titans. They hired him as the defense quality control coach, beginning his NFL career.

He moved around to three different teams, slowly moving up in the ranks to linebacker coach. This past January, he was promoted to defensive coordinator of the Dolphins.

As the linebacker coach, he worked closely with parts of the defense and, specifically, with linebacker Mike Hull.

Hull spoke highly of his coach, saying, “He’s a very intelligent coach. He knows everything about the defense, and he’s going to give you straight answers so you know what your job is.”

Burke can find the specific strengths in each player and highlight them on the field. Under Burke, Hull had a breakout season, more than tripling his tackles, with 18 tackles in 16 games.

“[Burke] lets you be a football player and really lets you thrive in whatever your niche is or whatever type of player you are. He doesn’t try to make you too mechanical and really works with you,” Hull said about Burke’s coaching style. “I love working for him. I think I speak for every linebacker in the room. He’s a great coach.”

Some of Burke’s coaching success can be traced back to his time at Hudson under former football coach Victor Rimkus.

“I definitely experienced a lot there [at HHS],” Burke said. “Looking back I ended up experiencing a lot of different things in my early football career, and it was a good foundation of experiences of both highs and lows.”

His relationship with his former coach and teacher has stayed strong throughout the years. The two have met up on occasion when Burke is in town, and Rimkus even went to see some of his games in college. He still recalls much of his time with Burke in high school, even though Rimkus retired after Burke’s junior year.

“I coached him 25 years ago, but he always had a place in my heart. He was such a great student and athlete,” Rimkus said. “Matt was an outstanding student, an outstanding athlete for a tall spindly kid, and boy, he could really run.”

Rimkus has followed Burke’s career wherever he went, and as a former coach, is very impressed by his career path.

“Well I’d like to think I did [inspire him to become a coach],” Rimkus said with a chuckle. “During the years I have always watched for him on the sidelines, until his father told me he’s always up in the press box. He’s so intuitive and really knows the game. I hope they have a great season down in Miami, and he’s got a lot of work to do down there on defense.”

Burke has been working with the team throughout the offseason and addressed some of his ideas for the season at a press conference in May.

“I could see all kinds of success stories from Matt Burke. He’s going up, and I wouldn’t be surprised some day if he becomes a head coach in the NFL,” Rimkus said. “I think someday you might even be reading about him as a head coach tangling with the Patriots.” 

0 118
Ms.Williams with fellow teachers and colleagues |by Jordan Cullen

by Jordan Cullen

Fifth grade history teacher Leslie Williams reflects on her 29-year teaching career. She reflects on her work at Farley Elementary School and Quinn Middle School as well as her teaching philosophy.

What got you interested in teaching?

When I was a kid, I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and my parents sent me to a parochial school. It was a terrible experience. I was a very good student, and thank goodness I was a very good student because they were very harsh. It was run by the nuns, and however you feel about that, they were very cruel. Their idea of getting kids to be successful was to sort of humiliate them and brow beat them if they were kids that sort of learned differently. I never had any problem with them because I was a very good student, and if you were a good student, you were pretty much okay.

But from a very, very young age it occurred to me that this a terrible way to go about enticing children to learn anything. So as I continued on I eventually went from K to eight, and then I went to a public high school. It had been my first experience in any kind of public school, and I saw examples of people who really seemed like they liked the kids that they were teaching. It was very weird in my head, but I knew that it was something that I thought that I could do. I had always sort of wanted to be a nun or a teacher.

When I was a very little girl, I used to put a towel on my head as my nun habit, but the nun thing after my school experience was like, “ No, I’m not doing that.” So teaching was always something that I wanted to do, so that’s why I became a teacher because I knew I never wanted other kids to be treated that way I saw other kids being treated.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been a licensed certified teacher in the state of Massachusetts for 43 years. I was home with my kids for a while, so altogether it’s about 29 years teaching.

What is something you have learned from teaching?

I’ve learned that people learn in very different ways. To be really effective at what you do, you have to honor and respect the fact that kids work differently, and you have to provide an environment in which all kids, no matter how they learn, can feel successful. And a lot of that has to do with differentiating the kind of material that you’re presenting to them. Making kids feel like they are important to you, and you are important to them. It’s a lot of emotional coaching, along with teaching them what I am supposed to teach them. So it really is, sort of, a journey. It is an emotional journey.

When I went for my Masters degree, I wanted to take something that I didn’t know something about, and I went in 1999. At that time computers were just beginning, and I really wanted to get a Masters degree in some kind of computer programming. So I was accepted into a program at Cambridge College, and there were only 18 of us. It was a very accelerated program. It was for about 11 months. It was the hardest thing I had ever done and it was the first time that I really understood what it is. It is so powerful to me because I understood what it was like to be a kid, looking at me and not having any idea what I am talking about. So it really kind of changed and kind of flipped a switch in me that there needs to be another way. I needed to anticipate those reactions and change the way I sort of delivered what I was trying to deliver.

What is something that you have learned from your students over the years?

Patience, humility, kindness, humour, a lot of patience. I’ve learned that my expectations of kids can’t be based on what I see in a seat every day. You have to get to know the whole kid. Every kid comes in, and you’ve had a lousy day, or you had a fight with your mom or something is going on right now or your dad’s gone. All of that affects how a kid learns, and you need to be knowledgeable about that, but you also have to be really empathetic and understanding.

Why did you choose to teach younger children?

I don’t really know. Probably because of that parochial school experience that I was talking about. My perception was that the worst parts of it for me were elementary school. Once I got into sixth, seventh, eighth grade, I knew it. I understood it, and I was able to parse my way through. But I always felt terrible.

I’ll give you an example: Once a month the pastor of the parish would come, and they would have what they called paddle day. So whatever you did, if you ever did anything, and it could have been the first of the month, he could come on the 31st. He would have a chair in front of everybody, and you would go into your classroom and the kid would be put down over his lap and he would paddle them in front of everyone. And that’s a very powerful message. These are little kids. I have remembered this from a very young age.

So I think I’ve always felt this sense and sensibility for, not really, really young kids. I’ve always wanted to teach upper elementary. I did do first grade, and it was really hard because it’s a whole different way of teaching. But I think that everything that happened to me as a kid informed what I became and how and what I do what I do.

What is the biggest difference between Farley and Quinn?

Working at the elementary level is much more anxiety producing. There are a lot of duties you have to do, and there are a lot of expectations you have. You pick up your kids, and you have to walk them everywhere. It’s fascinating to me because I’m still teaching fifth grade, but fifth grade at the middle school is very different from fifth grade at the elementary school. And sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. These kids [in the middle school] go to lunch on their own; they go to their related arts on their own. So there is a lot more time at Quinn for talking with other team teachers than there ever was at Farley.

I also really love teaching one subject. I really love it. I love teaching elementary, and it circles back to your first question, had I known, I probably would have become a middle school teacher from the beginning. Young middle school, like fifth or sixth grade. I love the age. I’ve always loved the age of fifth grade, but there is an expectation in this school that ‘’You are in middle school, and you should be able to do your own lock. You should be able to get to Portuguese on your own.” That’s not the same for very kid, but I like that aspect of that. I also enjoy the concept of team time.

What would be your last statement to your students and colleagues?

I would say that I having loved every moment of it, and if I could go back and change something, I wouldn’t change a thing.

0 112

by Rebecca Shwartz

Paul D’Alessandro is retiring this year after working at Hudson High for 32 years, teaching the workshop class that began along with his career. 

“I’ve been working in public schools for 36 years, and it’s not as common now for teachers to work at one place for their entire career, but I chose to work here for these past 32 years,” D’Alessandro says.

“David Quinn told me ‘Oh, you should work here, they need someone to run vocational classes,’ so I took his advice and applied,” D’Alessandro says. It had started out as a dropout prevention class called STRIVE, convincing students who were thinking of dropping out to stay and attend the class. It became something much more than that as the years went by.

After he graduated with a Special Education degree, D’Alessandro was hired as a special education teacher to teach vocational skills, thus creating the workshop class. The class, now connected through the Carpenters’ Union Training Facility, would help students prepare for entering that vocation.

“It’s amazing, watching them grow from knowing nothing about building to keeping an eye on them as they make their own cabinets,” D’Alessandro says. “My students usually go into the field of carpentry and woodworking, either working the wood or planning constructions.”

D’Alessandro has built many different products for customers with the help of his classes, ranging from barn doors to wardrobes and cabinets.

Since D’Alessandro is retiring, the future of the workshop is unclear. “It’s up in the air, what’s going to happen with the workshop class, but students won’t be able to get training before going to the facility.” 

In addition to starting the workshop, D’Alessandro has been involved in other important school programs, such as coteaching. The STRIVE class came to an end five years ago due to the fact that students weren’t passing MCAS. At that point D’Alessandro re-entered the classroom. When coteaching, a program that brought special education and regular education teachers together in the classroom, started, D’Alessandro taught with English teacher Shane McArdle and physics teacher Kate Chatellier. He taught Academic Support and two classes of woodworking as well.

“Even though I’m retiring, every moment here was memorable for me; every success and failure, teaching with McArdle, and all the years I spent here,” he said.

“He’s a great guy, and I’m going to miss him,” McArdle said. “He helped me build a shed, built an adjustable stool for my three year old. He’s great.”

“This was a great ride,” D’Alessandro said, “and it’s something I won’t forget.”

 

0 189
by Serena Richards

 

Candidates for the 2018 class officers give their campaign speeches to their classmates.

by Serena Richards and Alex McDonald

The soon-to-be senior class voted for their class officers on Monday. In an uncontested race, Maggie Appel and Sammie Cirillo were named treasurers. The community council representatives, Elizabeth Billings, Allie Falcone, and Hannah Farrell, were also uncontested. The candidates gave their campaign speeches before the vote on Monday.

AJ Libby:  

by Serena Richards
by Serena Richards

AJ Libby has held a position as a class treasurer for his last three years at Hudson High School. This year, Libby decided that he wanted to  change his direction. He decided he wanted to run for a class officer. “I feel like it’s time to change things up a bit and bring new ideas to class leadership.”

As a treasurer, in the past, Libby has collected dues and came before school on reverse half days to help with receipts. Next year Libby wants to take that dedication and “make senior year the best it could possibly be.”

Libby sees himself as “a very sociable person. I talk to everyone. I try not to exclude anybody from my everyday life,” and one of his strengths is that he is not afraid to stand up for himself and his ideas, but he is also not afraid to say no. “I have a moral compass, and that really guides me,” he said. He hopes that his communication skills, experience, and his responsible record will win him a spot as one of the 2018 senior officers next year.

Carley Devlin

by Serena Richards
by Serena Richards

Devlin has been a class officer for the class of 2018 since her freshman year. Devlin is proud of the great work she and her fellow current class officers have done planning school events like Snowcoming and the Junior Prom. She also helped Junior Boosters with dodgeball tournaments.

Devlin’s goal is to get more of her peers participating in the senior class activities and try to make more events to bring the whole school together. Devlin realizes that passing new schoolwide rules and adding new activities is more difficult “because people have said that in the past, and they don’t really go through, but I think maybe more more events for everyone to come together would be nice.”

When asked about why she should be re-elected: “I think my work for the past few years and everything we’ve already done shows that. With the work that we have to do in senior year, I’m eligible to do this like I already have.”

Hannah Feddersohn:  

Even though this is Feddersohn’s first year running, she has shown her commitment to the school and her class by also being the president of the UNICEF club, a longtime member of jazz and pep-band, along with being in Drama Society and a former member of the softball team.

When asked why she decided to run: “I feel like across the board a lot of our representatives are the same, and I wanted to bring some new aspects to it, and at graduation I want to be up there to really represent the class.” Feddersohn has a lot of new ideas she’s hoping to pass, like the Lip Dub, a full class lip sync to a song of the class’s choosing where they can have fun and use it as something to look back on.

“I feel like we don’t have an event that we all look back on, and we haven’t done anything like this before,” Feddersohn explains. She hopes to make Baccalaureate more casual, so more of her peers will perform. She wants them to be more comfortable, and for the experience to be more accommodating for those who want to perform but are not keen on the major pressure of performing in a formal atmosphere. “I want to give back to my class as much as Hudson High has done for me.”

Tony Francolini:

by Serena Richards
by Serena Richards

Francolini has been the president of the class of 2018 since his freshman year. Beyond that he does a lot of work with the Junior Boosters by helping put on many successful tournaments raising over $500. Not only has he raised a lot of money for the schools and clubs, but he also is proud of the $583 raised for the food pantry his freshman year.

Francolini is hoping to use these skills to put on several great senior events that bring his class together. “You can come up to me any time, and if anyone has any ideas, I would love to get them,” Francolini explained when asked about his goal if he wins. After seeing the 2017 prom as a success, he hopes to repeat the process they used to make the prom great and apply it to many of the senior events.

 

Hanna Sanford

by Serena Richards
by Serena Richards

Hanna Sanford has been vice president for the past three years. As vice president, she has run dodgeball tournaments, planned prom, and done a lot of “Class of 2018 activities.” 

Sanford hopes she can make the coming year great. “This coming year, I definitely want to make senior reception a lot of fun.” Sanford would also like to make the class trip very memorable.

Sanford believes she could help make senior year great. She has never missed a class officer meeting and has worked very hard in the past to accommodate everyone. Sanford is hoping to use this dedication to further the the success of the senior class officers. 

“I think I am a personable person. I talk to everyone in my classes. I feel like I am a good voice and a good advocate for people who want to see change in this school.”

On Tuesday morning, Principal Brian Reagan announced the new class officers for the class of 2018. They are Hanna Sanford, Hannah Feddersohn and A.J. Libby.

0 170
Danilo Ambrosio celebrates after accepting his diploma. | by Dakota Antelman

by Big Red Hawk Staff

HHS honored the more than 100 members of the senior class on June 4 at graduation. The ceremony featured student speeches, performances, and speeches by Principal Brian Reagan and Superintendent Jodi Fortuna.

0 85
by Siobhan Richards

by Big Red Hawk Staff

This year dozens of seniors decorated their graduation caps. We posted our best pictures of their caps in this gallery.

0 2657

by Alex McDonald

Over the past 15 months, Hudson resident Erin Holmes has dedicated her time to helping local families avoid the pain and regret that she felt after her son died of an overdose last January. She started the local support group Learn to Cope to provide the support she needed when she learned about her son’s struggles with addiction.

“Once he was safe in treatment, I scoured the internet for any information I could find to be the most helpful parent I could,” she said.

She decided that she wanted to join a support group, and after hearing the founder of Learn To Cope talk on the radio, she knew where she wanted to go. “She was a parent, and she was saying exactly what I was feeling. I instantly felt a connection,” Holmes said.

But the closest meetings were in Worcester and Framingham. And as her son got better, the need to go to the meetings decreased. She started to go less and less.

“I thought we were in the clear. He was clean for almost a year,” Holmes said.

Almost a year after treatment, on January 22, 2016, Matthew Holmes died of an overdose of Fentanyl, an opioid much stronger than heroin. He was 22 years old.

Only about two months after her son had passed, Holmes decided she wanted to help others struggling with addiction and their families. She knew she didn’t want anyone to go through what she did.

Holmes decided she wanted to bring Learn To Cope to Hudson.

“I have been able to bring a meeting to Hudson, which will allow for more accessibility for more communities to get the support they need. I also travel around to schools and other public venues to put a face and name to this disease as well as to educate children, professionals in the field of addiction as well as law enforcement.”

Hudson High School is one of those schools. Earlier this year, Holmes helped organize an event at the high school called Hidden in Plain Sight. Holmes set up a replica of a child’s room in the mini theater and allowed parents to come into the room and see all the places their kids could hide drugs.

“I just really want to spread awareness. The most important thing I want people to learn is this is a disease and not a moral failure,” she said.

Holmes also took Hidden in Plain Sight to Quinn Middle School. She succeeded in educating many parents.

“They were in amazement, and it was a total eye-opener for them.The principal did get a lot of feedback from parents thanking [Learn To Cope] for bringing the exhibit to the school.”

Some parents have found drugs and been able to help their child through treatment because of the exhibit, she said.

Holmes has been helping people all around Massachusetts, even former colleague and friend, Jessica Healy. Healy is the Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator at the Substance Abuse Coalition.

Holmes and Healy met through the coalition, and after Holmes decided to localize Learn To Cope, Healy and the coalition have partnered with Holmes on a number of initiatives.

“We have been doing lots of stuff, like she helps out with the 5k, and we are partnering with her on education efforts. The Health Department has also been helping her get all set up with Learn To Cope,”
Healy said. She loves working with Erin, and she is amazed at Holmes’ efforts.

“It’s awesome. She has got the cause. She follows her heart, and she wants to help others,” Healy said.

Holmes enjoys helping others work through substance abuse; however, it has not changed what has happened.

“Unfortunately I do not have closure. I don’t know if or when that will happen,” Holmes said.

But, she still encourages and helps everyone she can. “If I had only known what I know now. I don’t want another parent to say that or live with the guilt and regrets I have.”

Most of all, she wants to spread the idea of hope. “Never give up. Reach out to your family and friends. There is help out there for you. Don’t be ashamed. I don’t want them to lose hope. Hope is something they still have, and recovery is possible,” she said.

0 326

by Brianna Cabral

Drew Jackson, Ben Plucinski, and Dan Morton presented their year-long engineering project at WPI on May 24. They created a functioning golf prosthetic using a 3D printer. This presentation was part of the first STEM Hub, Project Lead The Way Showcase. They won a Capstone Excellence Award for their presentation.

stem 3
The Capstone Excellence Award that the seniors received at their presentation | by Brianna Cabral

Ideas for this design came from last year’s extracurricular project, which involved printing and delivering one of the e-Nable hands to a student at the middle school. The project focused on creating a prosthetic hand to swing a bat.

Though that design worked as an inspiration, the golf prosthetic functions very differently. “The hand was an active device that required a release mechanism that would release the bat while swinging,” Dailey explains.”The golf hand is passive after it ‘grabs’ the club and only releases the club when the user wants to remove it.”

Last year Dailey submitted the prosthetic hand for softball for an MIT-Lemelson grant. He and his students were finalists, but they were not selected for the year-long grant.

They also pursued this project because of the high price of sports prosthetics and the few prosthetics available for different sports. Plucinski explains that it would cost $5000 for just a custom socket and then another $800 if it’s a prosthetic that works for golf. Morton also adds that “anything sports specific isn’t covered by insurance. They only cover medically necessary devices, so all that money is out of pocket.”

Their design costs $15.75.

To test the durability of their prosthetic, they swung a golf club at a variety of objects. “We dropped it a few times, dropped some golf bags on it,” Plucinski explains. “When we were testing and swinging at the log, it actually bent the club in half, so you know it works.”

The testing and refining process followed a strict timeline. Dailey set these due dates to make sure they got their work done and stayed caught up.

All of this work was the student’s responsibility, and Dailey says, “In terms of designing, prototyping, testing, and refining their project, they have done an outstanding job.”

The students themselves are very proud of their product. “I think we have achieved a lot,” Jackson explains looking at his peers. “I think it had to do a lot with time management and just staying focused and getting into engineering mode.”

Even with all the work they have done, Dailey thinks there was still a flaw in their process. The seniors didn’t test their design on an actual amputee. User feedback certainly could have changed the final project,” Dailey explains. “But, this does not diminish their accomplishment.”

 

0 323
Seniors performing in the Baccalaureate ceremony stand on stage after walking in. | by Siobhan Richards

Members of the Hudson High School class of 2017 gathered in the HHS Auditorium on May 30 for the annual baccalaureate ceremony honoring their grade. More than 20 seniors read or performed music for their classmates, friends, and family while HHS staff members Reed Prior and Rebecca Appel also spoke at the ceremony.

0 1028
McKayla Shutt bats while a teammate looks on. | Submitted photo

by Dakota Antelman

Less than a week into her high school softball career, McKayla Shutt thanked her coaches for treating her just like the rest of her teammates.

Born without a full-sized left hand or fingers on that left hand, Shutt faces difficulties in softball that her teammates and opponents do not. But, after roughly her first year of high school play, she remains happy that her coaches don’t use her disability as a reason to go easy on her or keep her off the field.

“The coaches treat me like everyone else,” she said. “I do the same amount of catching, the same amount of throwing, the same skills that everyone else is taught.”

The backup first basemen and backup catcher on the eighth grade softball team, Shutt plays by first catching the ball with a glove on her right hand. She then drops the glove with the ball still inside of it, and finally picks the ball out of the glove to throw it also with her right hand.

Her coach, Catherine Brow, said she was impressed by Shutt’s ability.

“She does it so quickly especially when she’s behind the plate,” Brow said of Shutt’s fielding. “She catches it, and, by the time she’s standing up, she has the glove down, the ball in her hand and she’s ready to throw. It’s such a quick change. You don’t even notice it.”

While Shutt has played other sports, including field hockey, soccer and basketball, she has spent a considerable amount of time playing softball. She began playing t-ball in kindergarten and has progressed ever since.

Over the years, however, she has not found the kind of honest criticism from coaches she currently enjoys.

“[Before this year,] if I didn’t catch as well in one inning, my coaches would be like, ‘Oh it’s fine, shake it off,’” Shutt said, adding, however, that she loved all her coaches. “But here, the coach that I have will tell me, ‘You weren’t as good as you could have been.’ It’s nice to hear them say that.”

Catherine Brow sees this inclusivity as a core coaching value. In accepting Shutt with open arms, and treating her just as she does any other player, she also said she feels driven by her job as a paraprofessional and her ongoing education to become a special education teacher.

“Everybody should have the same opportunity,” she said. “Nobody should have anything held against them because of their disability. I’m not going to treat her any differently. I’m going to give her the same chance I give everybody else.”

Passivity by her own coaches was not Shutt’s only problem before high school. Indeed, opposing coaches, she said, would doubt her ability to play or question her when she dropped her glove and threw the ball with the same hand she caught it with.

“I’ve proven most of them wrong,” she said.

In dealing with naysayers, Shutt said her mother has been a crucial source of support.

“Obviously, she has two hands,” Shutt said. “But she has been there for me during everything with sports, especially when people are giving me a hard time about it.”

While some of her past coaches treated her differently or even questioned her ability, Shutt said her teammates have always supported her without question.

“They pick me up when I’m down,” she said. “They know how to cheer me up. They understand that it’s difficult, but they treat me like a normal person, which is really nice. They treat me like I have two hands.”

She added that this was the first year that she and all of her softball friends have played on the same team. Before this year, they were scattered among teams playing in a town league.

As the year progressed, Shutt said the new competitive atmosphere helped her improve. During the season, she made a major batting adjustment, switching from a conventional batting stance to a “slapper” stance. Before high school, Shutt hit using her one right hand. With Brow as her coach, she learned to bat from the other side of the plate while running towards the ball.

“I think that’s helped her a lot,” Brow said the day after one of the team’s practice. “She was hitting very well yesterday, and that’s definitely an improvement for her.”

Shutt hopes to one day become the starting varsity catcher. After her eighth-grade season, one in which she said she saw no special treatment, she said she now sees a clear way to make that happen.

“Since I came to the high school, I’ve talked to the coaches about it, and they’ve told me what I needed to correct,” she said. “They’ve been working with me on it. I think I’ll get there.”