Student Nomination Story

The primary focus of a sports team is to become the best on the field and win. That was the mindset I had too, until my junior year of high school when I played on the Arrowhead varsity white lacrosse team under Coach Mayer. In three short months, I rediscovered the purposes behind everything I did. And in three short months, Coach Mayer became more of a father figure to me than the man who continuously claimed to play that role. Coach Mayer created a team atmosphere unlike anything I’d been a part of. He emphasized the importance of becoming better people, not just better players, with speeches about “putting first things first.” He set aside practice time to discuss life. The effort he put into our team resulted in a family. Thankfully, a family is exactly what I needed that year. At the beginning of the season, I had a difficult conversation with Coach Mayer about my life at home, more specifically the unexpected visits and phone calls from my father (who I hadn’t spoken to in over three years). For the first time, I let the anxiety I had been silently carrying off of my chest. And when I finished rambling, he told me he was sorry I had to go through this. I brushed it off with an, “Oh it’s okay I’m fine.” He responded, “No, the way you’re being treated is not okay.” At that moment, I broke down because nobody had ever told me I didn’t have to be okay all the time. Thank you, Coach Mayer, for showing me I’m valued and that my feelings are valid. Coach Mayer supported me unfailingly throughout that season. One night my mom was stuck in court fighting through her divorce and she wasn’t able to drive my brother to his practice, so I had to take him (even though I needed to be at my own). I texted Coach Mayer that I would be late to practice. As I sped to get there, I anxiously awaited a text from him saying I would be running laps afterwards. Instead, I got this: “Don’t rush. We’ll see you when you can get here.” Thank you, Coach Mayer, for understanding the importance of family. He taught me to reevaluate the reasoning behind any activity I’m involved in. I shouldn’t participate in clubs only to put it on college applications, work just for the money, or play a sport just to win–everything I choose to put my time towards should be done to grow in character. Thank you, Coach Mayer, for helping me realign my priorities. Similarly, towards the end of the season, he asked me about my future plans. I told him how I wanted to pursue a career in medical missions, and how I wanted to take a trip abroad, but my family’s finances couldn’t make it happen. Without hesitation, he offered to fully fund a gap-year service trip abroad through the Stacey Elizabeth Mayer Foundation, a foundation dedicated to his late daughter to further her work for Christ. Thank you, Coach Mayer, for giving so much and asking for nothing in return. A year later, he still cheers me on. Although his determination as a coach pushed me to make Arrowhead’s top varsity lacrosse team this year, and I no longer get to have him as my coach, he hasn’t stopped being my biggest fan both on and off the field. Thank you, Coach Mayer, for never giving up on me regardless of my skill level. Whenever I have good news, he’s one of the first people I tell because of the joy he has in watching me succeed. So thank you, Coach Mayer, for showing me what it truly looks like to live a life of faith. Thank you, Coach Mayer, for teaching me the most important things in life are the people in it. And thank you, Coach Mayer, for being my biggest fan not only in lacrosse, but in every endeavor I pursue.

Cosette Ferris

Being a nervous sophomore on varsity at Arrowhead High School, I didn’t think things would come easy. I was greeted by a warm smile of what seemed like my dad! Coach Mayer welcomed his lacrosse players and started our first practice by sitting down and talking. He wanted to get to know us as individuals, outside of our athletics. This is important for a coach to do because he connected with me about many things and knew the stories of my life. My nervousness went away as my bond strengthened with Coach Mayer. Coming to practice, he brought popsicles when it was hot or fruit when he felt like it! He asked how our days were going and if we needed anything, he was there. As a senior, I asked Coach Mayer for a letter of recommendation and he was willing to help me out. He stated, “It’s not hard to write one about someone like you.” His words stuck with me because it showed me how one simple act can change someone's whole day. As we got in to the season, we started talking once a week. These talks would not be strategizing for our next game, or thinking about what we need to work on. These talks would be a quote or story of something amazing. He would show us how this story correlates to our life and how we can use it to become better people. I use the lessons Coach Mayer taught me still to this day. He always said that our character now will shape our future and shared stories with us of how that happened. One thing stuck out to me during prom week. After one of our games, he bought roses for each of his players. He reminded us if a boy was not treating us with respect, to let him know and he will solve the problem. His warm hearted, comforting, and drive to make his players better helped us not only in lacrosse, but our life and future. His long lasting impact is something that will follow me everywhere throughout life and I am forever thankful for him.

Lucy Mcsorley

I never expected this deep voiced man who towers over me to be such a teddy bear. Walking into the Arrowhead Lacrosse program as a freshman was intimidating, but Coach Mayer’s contagious smile spread to me making me feel welcome. My older sister had played lacrosse at Arrowhead and told me stories about Coach Mayer and how much she loved him so I was ecstatic when I found out I made his team. Throughout the course of the season Coach Mayer had done nothing but show how much he cared about each individual girl on the team. He treated us like his own daughters. He not only wanted us to be great lacrosse players, but also kind-hearted people. He always took time out of practice to have a “pow wow” where he would share inspirational stories that taught us that life is short and to never give up. Coach Mayer is genuine, thoughtful, and appreciative. After practice one day my friend Kylie and I picked him a bouquet of dandelions and gave it to him. He was so appreciative even though we had given him a pile of weeds. He texted us later that day a picture of them and the text read “Oh no my flowers are dying, we need to pick some new ones!” He made an effort to make sure we knew how much he appreciated what we had done, even though it was something as simple as picking a dandelion for him. One of the most important lessons I learned from Coach Mayer was how I deserve to be treated and how I should treat others. When Prom rolled around, Coach Mayer had a meeting with our team after practice. He gave every girl a flower and told us “if any boys give you any trouble, you let me know and I’ll have a talk with them, but be safe and have a fun time!” Coach Mayer didn’t only care about us when we walked on the field, he cared about our personal lives as well. He made sure we knew how we deserved to be treated even at something as silly as a school dance. I am no longer on Coach Mayer’s team; however, he still asks me how I’m doing and supports me with lacrosse and my life. Coach Mayer is kind, sincere, and a mentor to all of the girls that pass through the lacrosse program. Coach Mayer, I cannot thank you enough for everything you have taught me and I am incredibly grateful to have such a strong person like you in my life.

Stephanie Curry

’ve been waiting all my life to find a role model. And when I came to Arrowhead High School, I found one. Coach Mayer, my freshman year lacrosse coach. He saw something in me that I couldn’t see. He brought me onto his varsity team as a freshman which I wasn't expecting. I was so nervous to start high school lacrosse but my nerves were at ease when I met Coach Mayer. Nobody had made such a big impact on my life until I met him. You hear about coaches being hard on their team but not Coach Mayer. It’s not only about the team winning, with this coach. He spends time getting to know each athlete individually, and works very hard building the self esteem of each player. He held Pow-Wows, which were little talks with the team, and would tell us uplifting stories about differences other people have made in his life. He always wants the very best for every single one of us. He has gone through so much hurt in his life, including losing somebody that meant most to him, but it made him so much stronger. The things he has gone through are incomparable to others but it made him who he is. I’ve never seen him without a smile on his face. He is happy and spreads his joy to the girls on his team and anybody around him. Everytime I see him I run over and give him a big hug. The smile on his face that I caused, makes my whole day change. If I’m having the worst day,I can always count on Coach Mayer to change that. I told him all about my obsession with Justin Bieber. Guess what he did? He purchased the album on iTunes to play for me at practice. He wanted me to be happy and he wanted me to know he cared. He made me feel like I meant something to him rather than just to the team. I believe he could see the hurt I have been through and wanted to change the way I saw things. He wanted me to spread my kindness to the world as he does by doing small acts of kindness, like even just a smile at somebody or a compliment. He is also religious which helped my faith grow. Talking to him about faith is something I enjoyed. It was lacrosse season of my sophomore year, I moved up to a higher team which meant I didn’t have Coach Mayer anymore. I didn’t get to see him as much but our team had a game on a sunny and hot Saturday. Coach Mayer came to watch. He didn’t have to, but he wanted to, which made me feel unbelievably happy. My new coach, who I enjoy being around as well, he said something I misinterpreted. I was hurt and began to cry. Coach Mayer saw me crying, and came to make me feel better. He asked, “Kylie, are you okay?” I looked at him and began to smile as I continued to cry. I knew Coach Mayer was there for me—no matter the reason. He wanted to make me feel better. He came up to me again after the game and told me he was so proud of me. He wanted me to know it was going to be okay and that I shouldn’t let other people's anger get to me. At that moment, I’ve never felt so much care from a coach. None of my coaches have cared about me as much as he did—and still does. He taught me to be kind to others because everybody is going through something. Coach Mayer has impacted my life so much. I hope to someday, become more like him. He is kind-hearted no matter what. Coach Mayer is the most important influence I’ve ever had. I would come home from practice or a game and tell my parents about the nice thing he did AGAIN. It was the simple things he would do, like a kind word or telling me how good I did that day at practice or in a game. His kindness became so repetitive, as well as the encouraging things he would say or do for me and the team. He would do random acts of kindness for all of us. One time he even gave us roses to show us how much he cares. The impact of his acts inspires me to do this for other people. I always say how I want to be more like Coach Mayer. Coach Mayer, I could never thank you enough for shaping me into the person I am. Not only did you make me a better lacrosse player, but you also made me a better person overall. You have made me see how there are good people in the world afterall. I believe God put you in my life to influence me to be more like you. Thank you Coach Mayer for everything you have done for me and shaping me into the person I am today.

Kylie Hucke

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.