With a student population hailing from more than 10 countries, Vine Middle School has found an activity that is helping to bring students together — soccer.
After 20 years without a soccer team at Vine, the community came together last year to restart the school’s soccer program. This week, the team hosted a special Donor Appreciation Celebration to thank the Knoxville Volunteer Rotary Club, SMART Institute, Emerald Youth Sports, YOKE, Knoxville Parks and Recreation and Knoxville Football Club/Crush Soccer for their generous support.
“Soccer is a universal sport. Sixty-seven percent of our team members are immigrants. Many of these students have grown up playing soccer, so to bring that into what they’re doing at the school, that’s a big deal for these students,” explained Kendra Berry, Vine Community School resource coordinator. “Everybody needs community, their squad, their tribe, their place to belong. We’re doing that now with soccer and we’re super excited.”
Great Schools Partnership’s Community Schools strategy was founded on the belief that by working together, we can foster student, school, family and community success. The restart of Vine’s soccer program is a great example of what we can do for our kids when multiple partners come together.
“We felt that outfitting the soccer program was a unique way to build community pride and help assimilate and unify a population of students from very different geographical and cultural backgrounds,” said Knoxville Volunteer Rotary Club member Jim Holleman.
Students from seven countries make up Vine’s team this year: USA, Swaziland, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, and Guatemala.