Flashback from the Past: Ladies Who Gave Life-lessons on the Court

Longtime faculty and staff Tara Allen, Kena Allison, and Renee Short have done more than their day-to-day duties at Thurgood Marshall Academy. Allen, a 9th grade math teacher, was the first girls’ volleyball coach in 2009. Allison, physics teacher and former interim Head of School, coached the girls’ basketball team in 2005-06. Short, TMA’s Office Manager, coached the first cheerleading squad that same year.

While the skill-set required to coach volleyball, basketball, and cheer may vary, Allen, Allison, and Short all mentored the girls on the court so that they can use their athletic drive to make invaluable life decisions. In their own words, they share how they made their teams see the connection between having a passion to excel in sports and having a passion to excel in life.

Tara Allen, Math Teacher; Girls Volleyball Coach, 2009:
I was never an athlete but through practice and perseverance, I got good at volleyball. That’s what I brought to the girls. If you want to be good at something, you have to practice. That’s the building block of math – you have to practice or you can’t be great at it, or even good at it for that matter. If you’re willing to study the ‘game,’ be willing to study math and know its foundation so you can begin to master it.


DSC_8797Kena Allison, Physics Teacher; Girls Basketball Coach, 2006:
I was so inspired by how the girls would continue to come to practice even though we had a losing season. The best moment was watching them improve and win our very last game. The same goes for them in life. There will be moments when you feel like you’re losing at life, but I wanted the girls to understand that if you keep going, there will be a winning moment. 






© Ann-Marie VanTassell PhotographyRenee Short, Office Manager; Cheer Coach, 2006:
I remember when the cheerleaders performed at TMA’s first homecoming. They had practiced, but they were still very nervous because performing in front of a lot people was new to them. Then it was ‘showtime.’ The squad performed without one mistake. Despite the fear and nerves, they did it. Taking that same energy and conquering trials, tribulations, and other adversity is the bigger lesson that they learned in that very moment.

Girls Volleyball, Basketball, and the cheer squad will start practice in the fall and winter seasons.