Lessons learned from athletics
Softball player Danielle Newbern says being a member of the Fellowship of Christian
Athletes at LaGrange has been a blessing.
"It's a chance to be with other people who are going through the same things I
am," she says. "But it's not just for student-athletes – it's for everyone. We
have people who used to play sports and those who haven't played sports at all,
but we are all there for each other."
Danielle says spiritual life is very important to the student-athlete.
"It provides support to be more sportsmanlike, to be gracious in winning and losing.
I've learned to be a better athlete all around – and also that athletics aren't
A lot of people put all of their stock in sports, and that isn't realistic, she
"You may not be an athlete all of your life. But you can take aspects of sports – endurance, having a good attitude, supporting and encouraging others – and apply
them to every part of your life. I've learned that through FCA."
The sophomore from Gainesville, Ga., says softball helped lead her to LaGrange.
"The assistant softball coach at my high school is Kristi Underwood, who graduated
from LaGrange. She told me the college would be a great fit for me, with a good
softball team and a coach I'd love."
Danielle initially was concerned about having the financial means to attend college,
but she participated in the Presidential Scholar competition and was awarded a
"What a gift that was," she says. "After that, I was sure I wanted to go here
– a good school, good academics, good sports and a nice atmosphere. Everything
Although she came into college wanting to study early childhood education and
be a teacher like her mother, her academic path took a little twist.
"I was in Dr. William Yin's pre-calculus class, and he saw how well I did. He
encouraged me to become a math major, telling me that there are all kinds of things
I can do with it."
After mulling over her choices, Danielle decided to take Dr. Yin's advice.
"If I still want to be a teacher, I can," she says. "But if I decide to go into
a different field, a math major will make that possible for me, too."
A close relationship with professors is important to Danielle.
"That was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to a smaller college. I knew
I wouldn't get the attention I needed at a bigger school. I love that I can go
to any of my professors, even if I don't have them for a class, and they're always
there to help me."
She also appreciates the support she gets to expand her horizons.
"The math department really encourages its students to get involved in undergraduate
research. I'm looking at the Research Experiences for Undergraduate program. It
is held during the summer at different colleges around the country. They'll pay
you to do research and to go to workshops and even get published at the end of
it. What a great opportunity that would be for me."