The Bouncing Bulldogs program has positively shaped me in more ways than I can possibly count. As a six year old, I donned my first blue and white Bulldog uniform. I was a loud, excessively energetic, and to be totally honest, pretty “big headed” (as Coach would say) child who had a natural knack for jump rope. Being a Bulldog opened my eyes to the joys of teamwork, the endless value of giving to others, and importantly for me in particular, the necessity for humility and grace. Coach Fredrick showed me that I could hit the highest speed score or do the most amazing skill in the world, but that without the love and support of the team behind me, such success would not be possible, and could only bring me a certain degree of satisfaction. In my travels with the program, whether it be to an inner city school in the middle-of-nowhere Tennessee, or to the shambles of shanty towns in Capetown, South Africa, each child I taught, person I met, and culture I discovered gave me a unique lasting understanding of the world around me, especially for an upper-middle class white girl from an upper-middle class town. The program’s reach has extended into all parts of my life. I was fortunate enough to travel with the team to esteemed colleges like Oxford University in England, Columbia University in New York City, and most significantly the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Such experiences gave me a model for what I could have if I worked hard enough in school.
I’m currently approaching my graduation from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I am so proud to say that after four of the hardest academic years of my life, my most prized possessions all come from my jump rope team. Coach Fredrick and the Bouncing Bulldogs instilled in me a love of diversity, a strong voice, and most importantly an undying passion to use my fortunes to give back to those who have not been so lucky. Regardless of my physical proximity to the Bulldog gym, the program has, is, and always will be with me through everything and anything life throws my way.