Students bring lacrosse to Rocky Heights Middle School
The students provided their own equipment and worked hard to raise money to support the teams. Eighth grade student Joe Bryson is pictured here during practice.
By Amy Shanahan; photos courtesy of Melanie Lee and RHMS student Daniel Deschane
Thanks to a few enterprising eighth grade boys from Castle Pines, Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) is likely the first public middle school in Colorado to have lacrosse teams for eighth grade boys and girls.
The boys, who are good friends and play for various club lacrosse teams, approached eighth grade social studies teacher Jon DiGiorgio with the idea. DiGiorgio, who played lacrosse in college, gave them his support and set up an interview with the boys and RHMS Principal Mike Loitz, who also jumped at the idea. Working together, the group found a middle school league currently made up of only private schools, DiGiorgio agreed to coach, and they were off and running.
Students who were interested in playing had to provide their own equipment but that didn’t stop a full roster of boys from showing up. Interest from girls also arose, and the school was able to support a full team of eighth grade girls as well. The students held fundraisers, including a pie-throwing event, and received donations from generous parents to fund many of their expenses.
The RHMS teams are made up of both experienced and inexperienced players, but more than anything the students are playing with their good friends. One of the team founders, Castle Pines Village resident Logan Lee remarked, “I love it because it is a good break from the competitive club teams because it’s with all our friends and it’s for our school.”
The teams are only playing private schools – including Kent Denver, Graland, and Colorado Academy, and the students love the competition. Jonny Landis, another Castle Pines Village resident who initially approached Coach DiGiorgio is having a blast. “The best part of playing is being with my friends. We all play on different club teams and now we get to be together. It is so cool to have school spirit. Our friends come and watch as do our club team coaches!”
Rocky Heights is proud to have the first public middle school lacrosse teams for boys and girls in Colorado. A group of eighth grade boys came up with the idea and followed through to make it happen. Next year the school hopes to include seventh grade students as well.