Inspired and Inspiring: Jenna Marcotte '11 Takes Volleyball Skills to Western Uganda
When former Panther volleyball player and assistant coach Jenna Marcotte '11 thought about the Panther Volleyball Academy (PVA) taking place on campus this past summer, she felt homesick. She imagined the camp in full swing and the gymnasium filled with more than 350 middle school and high school girls eager to practice fundamentals.
Some 8,000 miles away in western Uganda's Kazingo village, where she works for the Peace Corps as a literacy specialist and teacher trainer, Jenna strung a worn volleyball net between two trees for her primary school students. With district football and volleyball competitions approaching, Jenna put to use the coaching skills she learned as a Panther. In no time the students were executing drills and eager to compete. Volleyball remains a way for Jenna to connect with her students.
"That was a fun day for me," Jenna said. "Missing PVA, but coaching in Uganda and watching my pupils start to understand all the things I had been teaching them about volleyball and putting it all together."
All Panther volleyball players graduate with coaching experience gained from PVA. Coaching struck a chord for Jenna, and she accepted the offer to coach after graduation.
"I can still tell you about every one of my teammates. I found a family with them," Jenna said. "I suppose that played into my decision to stay on as assistant coach. Coaching was just as rewarding as playing, if not more. The beauty is in watching players grow."
Jenna is just one of the many of volleyball players over the years who have responded to Head Coach Tom Ackerman's invitation to participate in something bigger than volleyball, an invitation he's now extending to the inaugural men's volleyball team.
"I’m excited for the new program and eager to add brothers to the GC volleyball family," Jenna said.
In the promo video below, Coach Ackerman delivers his recruiting message and outlines his priorities for the new men's volleyball team; among them, glorifying God, achieving academic success, and building a winning tradition.
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