By Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach
Here’s something McKenzie Decker would like you to know about football players. Sometimes, she said, they get scared.
“It’s scary when you charge,” says the Sanfordville Elementary fourth grader, “but you do it anyway.”
McKenzie has been playing football for several years now in local youth leagues, often as her team’s quarterback. She has three brothers and all of the Decker siblings are athletes. She plays softball and basketball, too. There are very few girl football players – McKenzie doesn’t know any her age – but that didn’t stop her.
“I got bored of just watching my brothers play. I wanted to play, too,” she said. “They told me I was crazy but I just ignored them.”
Sanfordville Principal Johnna Maraia says the spirited attitude McKenzie’s brings to the football field is evident in everything the fourth grader does. She is a member of the Sanfordville Leadership Club, and she adheres to the club’s five practices of leadership – encourage others, enable others to act, model the way, inspire a vision, and challenge the process. Each year, club members work on service projects together, such as raising donations for local charities.
“She’s truly a diplomat,” says Ms. Maraia, adding that McKenzie can be counted upon to help her peers compromise and see one another’s point of view.
McKenzie added that leadership also means working hard and setting goals, and that maybe it’s even a little like football.
“In football, sometimes you have to charge in and get the ball,” McKenzie said.
But that’s not the most important part about leadership. “Being a good leader means to be a good example to others,” says McKenzie. “And I try to always be nice.”
Each week, Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach shines the “The Superintendent’s Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s amazing students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, face challenges, and are role models to their peers.