Amy Daniels started her teaching career at the Lilla G. Frederick in 2003. She was fresh out of college and moved here from Pennsylvania with a degree in health and physical education with a concentration in sports administration.
I recently met with Ms. Daniels to talk about the importance of athletic programs in public education. “Sports are an essential part of life for people of all ages. Ms. Daniels says, “Sports teach our young people the value of teamwork, cooperation, discipline, and commitment.” In 2003 there weren’t any sports programs offered at the Frederick. However, in the past 10 years Frederick has built one of the most successful middle school athletic programs in Massachusetts; there are currently 12 sports programs at the school. “We have coaches who are consistent, clear, disciplined. We all work together as an athletic department to help our student athletes work hard academically, and to instill pride within each and every student athlete,” says Daniels.
“What role did athletics play in your life?” I asked. She noted that sports allowed her to achieve dreams she never thought possible. She struggled academically and came from a troubled household, but playing sports gave her self-confidence and provided an outlet where she learned how to overcome her obstacles. “Playing sports gave me something to like about myself. I was filled with hatred and negativity because of my family life. It also taught me the importance of time management, commitment, dedication and pride,” says Daniels.
She graduated high school on an athletic scholarship that provided her the financial means to go to college. “Sports provided me with the foundation I needed to represent myself and my community in two International Rugby Board World Cup events!”
Eleven years later she finds herself still at the Frederick. Being a physical education teacher in Boston Public Schools has been a great privilege and honor for her. Ms. Daniel prides herself on the relationships she builds with her students in the classroom and on the court. “I have often found Boston Public Schools to possess some of the most profound students.” Her students see her as a successful international female athlete who has chosen to work in Dorchester. She is constantly asked why she decided to stay with BPS. Her reply: “Well, someone has to teach you what you need to know to fill my shoes.”
Amy Daniels never thought that when she walked into the Frederick building for her interview that it was going to change her life completely. “I quickly found a place for me underneath this roof that I proudly say is my home.”