Less than a year ago, Alex Bartels, U’15, was living the life of a USM student. Walking the halls of Miege, studying for tests, finishing homework—all before afternoon soccer practice. If you told Alex that she would soon cross a barrier very few women do, she probably wouldn’t have believed you.
There are times when I’ve felt in over my head, but I learned from the best at USM.
— Alex Bartels, U’15
When she accepted a position at Atchison High School this August that changed.
Alex not only teaches freshman, sophomore, and senior English at Atchison, she is also the head men’s soccer coach. “I was shocked when the principal offered me the head coaching position,” explained Alex. “I interviewed for assistant coach, but head coach never even crossed my mind.”
Confident in her ability to teach poetry, British literature, basic grammar, and the themes of ‘classic’ high school books, the classroom was the least of her worries.
Excited, humbled, and filled with questions about reactions, capabilities, and style of coaching—she accepted the position, and the season kicked off—in a big way.
A 10-0 win for the season opener. And if that’s not enough of an accomplishment, Alex has another big win on the season. Three of her seniors have entered into the recruitment process to play college soccer—a first for the program’s recent history.
“There are times when I’ve felt in over my head, but I learned from the best at USM,” said Alex. “Sr. Rieke, Dr. Hebert-Carlson, Coach Seever, Coach Mazeitis—they all know how to make kids passionate and invested, and see and believe in their potential. That’s what teaching and coaching is all about.”
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Success stories to tales of lives well lived to memorable trivia—we’re always looking for a new Saint Mary alum to spotlight. Send your stories or memories to firstname.lastname@example.org with “A Saint Mary Story” as the subject line.