Stories And Inspiration
Meet the Coach: New Market Elementary's Rachel HenleySubmitted by on Mar 16th 2021 - 6:00AM. | Perma Link
GO FAR: Hey Rachel! Tell us a little about yourself and your history with GO FAR.
Rachel Henley: I'm currently a third grade teacher at New Market Elementary in Randolph County. My first GO FAR experience was helping our very large team at Piney Grove Elementary in Forsyth County. When my family relocated 3 years ago, I knew I wanted to bring GO FAR with me. When I was hired at New Market, I excitedly told my principal I wanted to start a team at our school. Luckily, she and our amazing PTO were on board, and our first season was in the fall of 2018. Coaching GO FAR helped me get to know students and their families from day one at a brand new school.
How were you introduced to GO FAR?
When I was a teacher in Forsyth County, our guidance counselor started the school's GO FAR team. The team quickly grew and she sent out an email to our staff asking for help. I hadn't ran since my high school Cross Country days, but I was excited to get back into running alongside students that I already loved from inside the classroom. From that first practice, I was hooked! There's nothing quite like the GO FAR experience.
Do you have a favorite memory of your time coaching so far?
I have so many great memories! I get to coach my own daughters which is a challenge, but also a great bonding experience. I think, though, my favorite memory was when I ran a race beside one of my own first grade students. His grandmother had registered him for the 5k instead of the fun run. I felt like this was an ambitious goal for him, but with a lot of encouragement, some requests for superhero themed music about mile 2, and some more words of positivity, we crossed the finish line, hand in hand. He looked at me and exclaimed, "WE DID IT, MRS. HENLEY!" I used that feeling of accomplishment to encourage this sweet student through reading and math in the classroom when things got tough. GO FAR teaches so much more than just how to run a race. It teaches character and endurance long after the race is run.
What do you feel is the most beneficial part of participating in GO FAR for your students?
I love the character lessons and the sense of being part of a team. I love hearing them encourage one another. I love seeing them step into leadership roles. The students lead stretches. They set their own goals season to season. They learn and grow so much over the course of our 8 weeks of running together. GO FAR is something all students can find success in, and I love seeing them accomplish their goals.
What has coaching GO FAR taught you?
When I started our team at New Market, I was really nervous. I had been a part of a wonderfully successful club at my previous school, and I wasn't sure I could recreate that. Turns out, that's not what I was meant to do. Each school has its own unique culture and climate. GO FAR helped me find out what that was at a new school and build relationships with students and the community that went beyond my classroom. It helped me feel at home in a new place because of that common goal and bond. I love how GO FAR helps build relationships and nurtures positivity in schools.
What is one unique thing about your club at New Market?
Our club is relatively new, but one thing I think makes us special is the grant money we received to help get our runners matching gear for race day. Runners had matching headbands and socks we wrote our running mantras on. I also love that parents attend practice with their kids. I couldn't make this happen alone, but other teachers will come out, parents will come out, and we all hit the school track together. It's definitely a community and one I'm super proud to be a part of!
Thanks, Rachel, for all you do!