Local youth sports group Athletics Academy made a trip to the Junior Olympics in Houston recently and won big.
No one was more excited about the dozen Germantown students participating in the event than Kenroy Wallace, the director and coach of the Athletics Academy.
For Wallace, the initiative he started in 2007 was about more than just teaching boys and girls ages 8 to 14 about sports.
The reason the team has “academy” in its name is the program also includes learning — nutrition, reading and math.
“This is a permanent track and field program that includes academic enrichment,” Wallace said. “We train out of two schools: Emlen Elementary School serving the Germantown and Mount Airy areas, and Roxborough High School. We have a total of 50 young people. I am proud of the fact that we have several who made it to the 2012 AAU Junior Olympics in track and field.”
Among the Junior Olympic honors of the Athletics Academy track stars were three major medals and eight students finishing in the finals of several events.
“This is truly the culmination of everything that we’ve worked for recently,” Wallace said. “We have a talented group of youngsters. I believe that by combining athletics and academics it shows them that if you harness your talents and mold them you can achieve. It shows them that hard work does pay off. That’s something that our children need to hear today, and if you can harness that talent it makes a difference.”
Parent Darien Swift agreed.
“It is one thing to compete with kids around your own area or state, but it’s taking it to another level to compete against the best around the country,” he said. “I think it was remarkable.”
Darien Swift was among those who chaperoned the entourage of students in Houston. His son, D’Andre Swift, 13, was among the students who competed.
“I felt proud of my team mate who won two medals and another who won one,” he said. “I think running track is positive because it gives you something to do to stay off the streets. The Athletic Academy just has great coaches who really (steer) you in a better direction.”