Berkeley High School (BHS) has recently appointed two new Athletic Directors, Ross Parker and Robin Van der Vegt, for the 2019-20 school year. These new athletic directors have big plans in store for the future of BHS athletics.
This year will be Vegt’s ninth year as a faculty member at BHS. In addition to being an athletic director, Vegt teaches in Berkeley International High School (BIHS) and in the African American Studies Department.
The second athletic director, Parker, has taught at BHS for 13 years, and has served as a BIHS coordinator and co-teacher leader for two years. With both of their busy schedules, it is understandable that the job of athletic director may be a better fit for two people than just one.
When asked why they decided to scale back their classroom commitments and become athletics directors, Parker mentioned that he had been a three-sport athlete in high school. He feels as though sports have always been an “integral part of his life.”
In contrast, Vegt never played any organized sports. However, she enjoys watching sports, and both of her sons played sports throughout high school. “We believe that athletics can be a positive experience in a kid’s life, it can also help build stronger interest in school and bring the school together,’’ they explained.
The two teachers believe the role of BHS athletic director has, at times, been underappreciated. They feel that with their combined individual skills, they could help the athletic department and BHS student athletes thrive by taking the position together.
They have made their goals clear: “We want to see BHS students and the community come out to support our teams and we want our student athletes to have a wonderful memorable experience from their participation on teams.”
One weakness the new athletic directors have pointed out in the BHS athletic program, is the geographic constraints associated with having a campus in such an urban area. For example, the use of field lighting is limited. Additionally, because of the easy public access to our fields, keeping BHS equipment in pristine condition is a challenge.
Nevertheless, they are confident, stating, “There are far more strengths than drawbacks at BHS and we are working at full capacity to build on those strengths while developing new and creative ways to improve the student-athlete experience.”
Our new athletic directors are excited to be a part of the athletics program at BHS this year. They urge students to “come support your BHS sports teams! Be a fan, be part of the school community in this way!”