The following story originally appeared in the Winter
2009-10 issue of the Brown Bear Magazine.
Brown gymnast Katie Goddard ’12 is a natural teacher. When she was in high school in Kings Park, N.Y., one of her neighbors asked if she would help their sixth-grade son with his math homework. Before she knew it, she was tutoring nine middle school students on a weekly basis.
“I appreciated the one-on-one time with the kids because we got to work on so many different things,” said Goddard. “That experience taught me a lot about how kids learn and how to explain things in multiple ways for kids with different learning styles.”
Now a sophomore at Brown, Goddard coordinates the gymnastics team’s volunteer efforts at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School. The team works with a pre-kindergarten class, helping with craft projects, reading, and anything else needed to aid classroom instruction.
Moving from pre-teens to preschoolers could be a difficult adjustment, but the transition has been easy for Goddard.
“I’ve worked with kids of all ages,” said Goddard. “I coached gymnastics since I was 15, and I have always picked up jobs as a babysitter. It’s fascinating to learn how kids of different ages think. Most of the time, I learn more from them than they learn from me.”
Goddard’s enthusiasm has been contagious. While the gymnastics team has always been active at Vartan Gregorian, this year the team plans to make two or three trips a week to their class—a significant commitment for a team with a 13-person roster. Goddard is also working to increase the team’s participation in charity fundraisers like the athletic department’s Bench Press for Cancer and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
“I’m really proud of Katie for having the confidence to take on that type of role as a sophomore,” said Head Gymnastics Coach Sara Carver-Milne. “I encourage everyone on our team to start leading the freshman class once they hit sophomore year, but to take those efforts outside the gym shows a tremendous maturity on her part.”
Goddard has already proven herself in the gym and in the classroom. Last year, she was a First Team All-Ivy Classic selection in the floor exercise and earned a spot on the National Association for Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Scholastic All-American team as one of 67 gymnasts in the nation to earn a 4.0 GPA for the 2008-09 academic year. While she is still formulating her career plans, she hopes to spend a few years helping to shape education policy before teaching or tutoring in a state with struggling public schools.
Given her track record in the classroom, in the gym, and in the community, it’s unlikely that there are any goals that are beyond Goddard’s reach.