By participating in sports, a young man can learn a lot of vital life lessons not found anywhere else. At Grand River Academy, we pride ourselves on our no-cut athletic program. Every young man can participate in any sport. One of the champions of our athletic program is a man who wears many hats at GRA, Frank Shreve. Mr. Shreve is GRA’s Director of Athletics, head soccer coach, math teacher, and Director of GRA’s Summer Academy.
Learn what Mr. Shreve had to say about his approach to boys’ education, and his experiences at GRA:
1. What do you feel is one of the biggest challenges facing young men in academics today?
One of the biggest issues young men face in academics is the lack of true differentiation. In most environments, everyone is measured by the same scale. Considering the inherent differences in how boys learn and how girls learn, it can put boys at a disadvantage in a gender mixed classroom.
2. How do you strategize engaging curriculum and teaching methods toward young men?
As a coach and Athletic Director, my goal is to give my students and athletes as many opportunities to be involved as possible. In my sports statistics class, I utilize many of the boys’ interests in sports to teach math. Providing opportunities for students to be active while learning also provides a necessary outlet for active learners. Why just read about conditional probability when you can go to the gym and experience it by determining whether you have a better chance of hitting your second free throw in basketball if you make the first free throw? On the soccer field and in athletics, in general, I aim to help the boys apply practice scenarios in game situations. It’s not enough to teach them how to follow a set group of plays without thinking; I work to encourage the boys to problem solve and make decisions on the field. This gets them physically, mentally, and emotionally involved in the team.
3. How does GRA help young men prepare for college and their future success?
There are so many ways! At GRA, we work as a team to help build and educate our boys using a 360-degree approach in order to prepare them for the rigors of college and beyond. Living on campus provides a great opportunity to learn what it means to be a part of a community before college. Having to manage their time, negotiate life with a roommate, and the opportunity to become more independent gives our boys an advantage over many college freshmen.
4. Every student has his own unique interests, passions, and goals. How do you help students realize and activate their true potential and pursue their goals?
By utilizing their unique interests, passions, and goals in classes that have previously been a significant challenge, we are able to present information in a way that helps students experience success and build their self-confidence. Many students have expressed the idea that they’re “just not good at math.” However, in the right situation, students often find that, while math is challenging for them, they can also be successful.
5. What are you most passionate about at Grand River Academy?
While I'm proud of my work in a classroom, I am passionate about our no-cut athletics program. In this program, I have seen boys grow, learn, and mature. Without the fear of being cut, many students try a sport they would never have considered attempting before GRA. Through these sports, student-athletes learn not only about themselves, but also others on their team. They learn that to be part of a team often requires hard work, sacrifice, and obstacles. Our coaching staff is constantly striving to motivate our students to achieve their goals both on and off the field.
6. Any additional comments, stories, or insights you’d like to add?
For me, the most rewarding part of coaching is seeing the success students achieve when they work hard in their sport – whether it is a sport they’ve played since they were five, or a sport they tried for the first time that season. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, our youngmen are better all-around individuals at the end of a sport season than when they started. Being a part of that growth process is a privilege.
Learn more about the athletic program at GRA, and discover our unique approach to an all-boys education. At GRA, your son will develop into the totally young man – socially, emotionally, and academically.