— In the News: Coaches flag benefits of non-contact sport

Middle schools offer alternative to full-contact sports. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on September 6th, 2017.

The August sun warmed the quad at Sea Crest School as boys and girls donned blue practice jerseys in preparation for the first flag football practice of the season.

Flag football is offered at both Sea Crest and Cunha middle schools. The lessons learned on the field often can translate to stellar performances on the high school gridiron.

“It’s 9-on-9 here, regular football is 11- on-11,” said Sea Crest middle school flag football coach Craig Strong. “It’s two less linemen, that’s the big difference.

“You’re still blocking, passing, running the ball, throwing the ball, catching the ball,” he continued. “On defense, you’re attacking, when you’re pulling the flag, that’s the equivalent of tackling. You’ve got to read offenses and move your body in such a way so that you’re heading where the ball is going.”

“The biggest difference between playing high school football and middle school flag football is the competition level and the intensity,” said Gabe Giacotto who played flag football for Sea Crest Middle School before joining the Junipero Serra High School football team.

“The coaches expect more from the players at a high school level and they rely on you to keep yourself and your fellow teammates in check,” he continued. “The other big difference was adjusting to both wearing and hitting with pads. It gives a whole different feel in running and movement. You also have to learn how to hit and tackle with them if you haven’t played tackle football before.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Kaiya Hanepen (7th grade) practices with athletic director Craig Strong watching during flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Full-contact youth football organizations have taken great care to ensure the health and wellness of their athletes. From capping the weight requirements of heavier players to ensuring all equipment is in excellent working order, athletes par ticipating in full contact football have never been safer or better prepared.

Still, some parents are hesitant to allow their children to play. For middle school-aged children, flag football may be just the ticket for those hoping to one day step foot on the high school field.

“Flag football gives athletes the opportunity to throw and catch the football on a regular basis and get a foundation for the game,” said Keith Holden, varsity head football coach at Half Moon Bay High School in an emailed statement. “Players learn a lot about angles, schemes and about how to move on the football field.”

“The players are learning the rules of the game as well as an understanding of the game,” said Strong. “Full contact is different in terms of some techniques, such as tackling techniques. We don’t tackle, we pull flags. However, we still block, without pads. Some of the techniques and skills developed in flag football absolutely translate to full contact football.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Coach Dan Halepen shows a diagram to the team at flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Strong stated that a big part of the flag football season includes teaching aspiring athletes intricacies of the game, including how to move and defend the ball.

“They are learning the actual skills, laying groundwork that, if the athlete didn’t have, might present more a of challenge if they played full-contact football without the foundation,” he said.

“I learned a lot on the flag football field that helped me to recognize plays when on defense, such as the difference between a deep pass, short pass and runs both outside and up the middle,” said Giacotto.

“It also helped me to pick up and pursue a quarterback when he is scrambling,” he continued. “Playing flag football helped me on offense when getting the hang of memorizing plays and adjusting to different defensive formations.”

As to how to bridge the gap between flag and full-contact football, Holden believes that the best supplemental training is playing other sports.

“Also, I believe that strength training is beneficial to any athlete, not just football players, for preventing injury,” he said.

“My advice for kids playing flag football, who aspire to play in college, would be to stick with it and to not give up,” added Giacotto. “At first, the sport is going to seem tough and brutal, especially in a program like Serra’s.

“Although, if you work hard and stick with it, you will be surprised at how fast you catch on and make the necessary adjustments,” he continued. “The other thing would be to always hustle and give your best effort because that is what the coaches are really looking for.”


 

— Class of 2013 back on campus!

Sea Crest School warmly welcomed the class of 2013 back to campus for a class reunion last Friday, June 2nd. It was a wonderful celebration: they enjoyed themselves and played games in the gym with coach Moore, other teachers, and some of their parents!

Thank you for returning to Sea Crest! Having you and your family on campus brought us so much joy. We greatly appreciate you sharing with us your time, stories and memories of your days at Sea Crest. We hope to see you back soon!

Alumni Reunion Alumni ReunionAlumni Reunion Alumni Reunion Alumni ReunionAlumni ReunionAlumni Reunion Alumni Reunion

Our community loves to hear from alumni. Please send us updates!


 

— Alumni Story: Carter returns to assist one of his favorite teachers

Carter White graduated from Sea Crest School in 2008. He started out in Kindergarten, back in 1999, at our old building and moved to the new building when he was in third grade. He still remembers the excitement about the move and the brand new classroom he got to enjoy.

Carter White in 2008 when he graduated from Sea Crest School.

Carter in Third Grade

Carter in Mrs. Bybee’s Third Grade class in 2002.

Today, after nine productive years, he is back in the same classroom! A lot has changed, the furniture was recently updated and the classroom fully transformed in a flexible learning space. He is still enjoying that classroom, but now from a different perspective: assisting one of his favorite teachers, Ms. Bybee.

After Sea Crest, Carter attended Half Moon Bay High School and studied Physiological Sciences at UCLA. He graduated last year, worked as an EMT in LA, and is waiting to go to graduate school in August at Tufts University School of Medicine. In the meantime, he wanted to do something productive and decided to volunteer on a regular basis at our school.

“I’ve always loved working with kids and want to go into pediatrics”, said Carter. “I’m really excited about coming back and helping Ms. Bybee. I know the kids also get a lot out of it. They get even more attention, more one-on-one time […] I love Sea Crest. I loved my time here. A lot of the teachers are still here. It’s a great school and a lot bigger now.”

Carter will be assisting the third grade classrooms until the end of this school year when he goes to medical school in Boston. We are very proud of the successful young man he has become. We would also like to thank him for thinking of us to volunteer. He is having a good time and the children, too. They are lucky to have such a wonderful role model in the classroom. Thank you, Carter! Good luck in your new endeavors!


 

— Why support our Performing Arts Program

We are excited to announce that this year Sea Crest School’s targeted fundraising initiative supports our Performing Arts Program!

Why support our Performing Arts?

Alumni Stories





 

Donate Now

Thank you for your continued support!

We look forward to the bright future of our Music and Theatre Arts program!


Creativity and Confidence: The All-School Musical

A key component of Sea Crest’s mission is empowering our learners to express creativity. This holds true for our core classes as well as our enrichment programs, and in each subject we focus on student-centered learning and curricular innovation.

For the performing arts, student-centered learning means that children are integrally involved in every aspect of the All-School Musical. Each student, from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, is part of either the cast or the crew for the production. In recent years, Middle School students have also taken on the role of scriptwriters, and they storyboard and write the Musical as part of a “Page to Stage” Explorations course. Middle Schoolers also learn the foundations of technical theater in a “Behind the Scenes” Exploration.

“We believe in finding and implementing the most innovative and creative ways to teach and learn with children at Sea Crest, and I think we get better at this endeavor every year,” says Spanish Teacher Michaela O’Connor, who led the backstage crew for the Musical. “Our core beliefs in hands-on inquiry, compassion, and character education, and in becoming more and more innovative, are what sets us apart from other schools.”

“This experiential learning opportunity gives students a chance to showcase skills and concepts they have learned in Drama and Music classes,” says Music Teacher Cathy Bleecker. “They develop perseverance, teamwork, and confidence through this wonderful tradition.”

“It is an amazing joy to watch students from all grades work together to create a work of art,” agrees Drama Teacher Michael Lederman.

The Musical involves the wider community as well. We partner with the Coastal Repertory Theatre to provide an authentic theater experience for students, and our families volunteer to coordinate costumes, supervise the green room, and lend their expertise. Each year – due to the number of people involved and the quality of the production – tickets sell out for every performance.

Last year’s Eighth Graders reported that the All-School Musical would be the experience they would remember most about their time at Sea Crest. It conveys our school’s culture and spirit, bringing the community together to express how much we value the arts as part of a well-rounded education. The confidence and poise students gain from the experience ensures that they not only learn to express creativity, but also learn to lead with courage.

“Education in the arts is just as important as education in Math, Science, or English,” says Sea Crest alumna Amanda Odasz. “Theater was where I learned about teamwork and valuing the people around me and what they have to offer. It was where I found a sense of family.”

“I got really close with a lot of people through the theater experience,” says Lucas Gust, who graduated from Sea Crest in 2007. “And I’m still friends with them today.”

To watch highlights from the 2016 Musical, visit vimeo.com/seacrestschool/mavericks.

To view a short film about Sea Crest’s All-School Musical, please click here.


 

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