Whether you're on your way to the library or stopping by City Hall, chances are you're driving by St. John Vianney School, located in the heart of Brookfield. This blog will provide insight into life and education at SJV, a 4K-8 educational anchor in Brookfield since 1957.
What comes to mind when you think about grade school sports? How about heated basketball games, volleyball matches, and track and field meets…
Imagine a group of grade school students at the pristine North Hills Country Club. All are smartly attired, address each other politely, golf club in hand, taking turns teeing off and watching where the balls lands. OK, some balls land in the sand trap, some disappear among the trees, some just decide to take a little hop and land a few feet away. But some land on the green! This is the SJV Golf team’s Fall scrimmage at the majestic North Hills Country Club.
Through much effort and hard work, Paul Mindel, with the support of Jim Hessling of St. John Vianney, has made golf an official seasonal school sport open to all grades. As an SJV dad, Paul started the program two years ago with the objective of exposing students to golf at a earlier age and providing children who may not be into basketball or football a chance to compete. The program started out with driving practice at the National Golf Center, which Paul owns and operates. This year, the program has developed to include students from St. John Vianney, St. Dominic, St. Mary’s Elm Grove and St. Joseph’s in Wauwatosa.
The quad-parish golf students were fortunate to be coached by the national recognized coaches at the North Hills Country Club this past season. PGA coach, Eddie Terasa is a nine time Professional of the Year for the State of Wisconsin and is one of the best player in the State. The team is also coached by Nate Gray, a qualifier for the 2009 Wisconsin State Open and head of the Jr. Golf program for North Hills.
The Boards of both North Hills and Westmoor have generously donated their clubs, enabling the program to be very affordable for all families to participate. As one of the dad’s put it, “these kids are so lucky in so many ways.”
I had the pleasure of chaperoning the 7th - 8th grade team during one of their practices. For the first time, the children were playing the course. Coach Eddie and Coach Nate took the group to the first hole. They explained how to address the ball, what is the proper etiquette while at the course and even finer details such as where to put the golf bags and where to stand.
I have to admit, I am not a golfer! I feel about as confident stepping on the golf course as when I am sitting in a restaurant at a business dinner choosing a wine (OK, I am not a drinker either, but sometimes, the occasion requires a glass in hand). Many adults learn golf on their own. The SJV golf program gives students skills and confidence to continue the sport if they choose to.
The team competed in two tournaments at the end of the season, one at the Westmoor Country Club and one at the North Hills Country Club. My seventh grader competed at the North Hills tournament. When I stopped by to pick him up, he just finished his round and was very excited. He ran over and told us that he shot a “Birdie!”
“That’s GREAT! I am so happy for you!”
But what’s a “birdie?” I sure hope it’s not a new extreme sport between birds and balls...