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McCarville Awarded Jr. High Coach of the Year

Mike Motz, Sidney Sun-Telegraph

SIDNEY- Sidney Middle School teacher and athletics coach Joydene McCarville was recently honored in Lincoln with the Jim Farrand Memorial Award for the Outstanding Assistant/Jr. High School Coach of the Year for 2022-23. The award recognizes her lifetime of service to Nebraska students in education and sports. During her career, McCarville has coached just about every sport in school except wrestling and football.

Born and raised in Wood River NE, McCarville graduated high school in 1971, and did her undergraduate work at Kearney State, prior to the school becoming part of the University of Nebraska system. She went on to earn her Master's Degree from Kearney State in 1978.

"I got my degree in Middle School Education, and there really wasn't an established curriculum for that at the time, so I teamed up with the university and we developed that curriculum for future students as I went through my years in undergraduate work," she said.

Always willing to take on new challenges and not follow established paths, McCarville reminisced about her time in high school and college, saying, "This was before Title 9 was passed, so when I went to high school, girls were only allowed to compete in athletics in intramural sports. We didn't play other schools. Track and Field became the first sport girls could compete in at the varsity level, and then volleyball and basketball, but I was already in college by that time.

McCarville always had a passion for sports, and started learning coaching techniques while in high school and in college. She believes in the importance of young people competing in sports and participating on sports teams. "Kids need to be part of something bigger than themselves. Sports prepares you for life as it teaches how to set goals and work towards them, how to achieve personal bests, and how to work as part of a team," she said.

She first taught in Grand Island, then moved to Sidney in the early 1980's. She started teaching for the Sidney Public School system in 1985. "When I first came to Sidney, there were no slots for new teachers, so I had to wait. During that time a worked with kids at daycare and started teaching and coaching sports. Then an opportunity opened up for me as a 5th Grade teacher at Central, and I've been teaching in the Sidney school system ever since," she said.

About 25 years ago, she was offered a teaching position at Sidney Middle School and jumped at the opportunity. She was instrumental in developing Spirit Club, on of the Sidney Public School systems largest student activity organizations. "I have former students who are now close to middle-age come up to me all the time and ask me about Spirit Club. It was a big highlight of their time at Sidney Middle School,' she said.

McCarville is a big believer in student athletics and activities. She stressed the habits you learn working together on a team, any kind of team, translate into good habits as an adult and help bring success. She talked about Spirit Club and said, "It was such an exciting thing for the students. Not all students are a fit for athletic teams, or Chess Club or whatever. But in Spirit Club, everybody fits in. As part of a commitment, each student had to pay a dollar to get into the club. If they didn't have the dollar, there were other things that they could do to "earn" their way in. The reason we did this is so that students had a bit of skin in the game, to make it important to them. And it works. Every month there's a Spirit Club meeting, and the kids get to do events like Human Tic-Tac-Toe and other things. It's fun and gets them involved with something bigger than themselves."

She also talked about the Middle School "Letter" system. In High School, athletes and other club participants can earn varsity letters after a certain amount of playing time or other achievements. Then they get pins and other emblems for special achievements, like being a team captain. These are usually worn on a "Letterman Jacket". Since Middle School does not have "varsity letters", McCarville and the other teachers came up with a "Letter System" for middle school. All students get a "letter" which they can hang on their locker. This symbolizes that their part of the team, and that they matter. After that, achievements in sports or other clubs are noted with emblems that are then attached to the letter. This shows the commitment to working hard and working together as a team, and how individual success stems from those traits.

McCarville's award symbolizes a career spent in educating and nurturing students to achieve their full potential by getting them to believe in themselves, and to be part of and work effectively with a team. It is a lesson that goes beyond reading from books and hearing lectures in classes. McCarville's dedication to the education and development of Sidney's future leaders and citizens is to be commended, and award is very well deserved. Just ask any Sidney resident that attended Sidney Middle School during McCarville's tenure, and you'll hear nothing but praise for her dedication and commitment to the students of our community.

 

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