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Coach names award after ex-FMS athlete; is ‘motivator, focused’


A 14-year-old having an award named in her honor?

Paige West, an eighth-grade student/athlete at Farragut Middle School during the 2007-08 school year, has inspired and accomplished beyond her age in the eyes of coach/teacher Elizabeth MacTavish.

The inaugural Paige West Track and Field Dedication Award “is meant to be given to a student every year who sort of exemplifies what our track team stands for,” MacTavish said. “Someone who is a motivator to their teammates, who is spirited, who is kind and I think someone who just has a passion for the sport. “I’ve been teaching middle school for nine years, and if you do the math on that that’s probably around a thousand students that I’ve had,” she added. “Paige probably stands out to me as just different ... a role model for her peers as far as academics. I had the chance to have her in class in the seventh grade, in science class, and that was a blessing in and of itself.”


A 4.0 student who also excels in the 200-meter run, as a leg in the 4 X 200 plus her talents in softball and volleyball, “Paige does it a little better than most,” MacTavish said. “She’s very level-headed, you can sit and have a conversation like you would with any colleague or adult. Well beyond her years.”

Although saying a child’s middle school years can be “a tough age,” Paige is among those who went through it “quite gracefully,” Mac-Tavish said. “Very focused academically. They’re able to prioritize their social life with their academics.”

That’s despite “having a whole lot on her plate,” MacTavish added about Paige being a three-sport athlete.

The only member of MacTavish’s FMS Lady Admiral track team for all three years she’s coached at FMS, Paige was voted “Best All-Around Athlete” in track for 2008 by her teammates, according to MacTavish.

As for the award, “I told my husband, ‘I just really feel like I need to come up with something for her,” MacTavish said.

Paige was anchor leg on the FMS 4 X 200 team that finished third in Knox County in 2008 among 14 schools in addition to running the 200. “She’s fast, and she trains hard,” MacTavish said.

MacTavish, preparing to begin her fifth year at FMS in 2008-09 as a science teacher/coach after having taught in Orlando, Fla., said Paige has special motivational skills.

“She’s a great motivator, she would, at the very beginning of practice every day, step up and … give the girls her own little pep talk,” MacTavish said. “When I tell ’em they’re going to run their sixth or seventh 200 and they’re exhausted and begging me ‘no more, no more,’ she says, ‘let’s go guys, this is what makes us better.’”

The recurring award, to be kept in the FMS trophy case, is a plaque roughly 14-by-12-inches with the annual recipient’s name inscribed onto the plaque. Each winner gets a separate award to keep.

A member of the National Junior Honor Society, Paige has been recognized for “highest academic honors.”

Paige said having the award named in her honor “was great, I was really surprised. I really love Ms. Mac. The past three years have been great with her. I was totally shocked when she gave it to me. But I really, really appreciate it. I felt as if she would be the one to give an award like that.

“She was a great, great teacher and coach,” Paige added. “I actually wasn’t going to run track my eighth-grade year because I also played volleyball and there was going to be conflicts and I was afraid that I was going to let the team down.

“She was a great motivator, and she really motivated me to run track in eighth-grade again,” Paige added. “I appreciate her so much the past three years.”

Paige said one of her goals as a rising freshman at Farragut High School this fall is “being the same as Ms. Mac was to me, a great motivator and friend.”

Paige said she’ll be gunning for a spot on the FHS varsity volleyball roster, but was “undecided” about running track for the Lady Admirals.

 

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