Rec holds special event to honor Wells and other young athletes

Last Saturday afternoon, the West Side Recreation & Park District held an event at the Fox Theatre to honor a group of young athletes and recognize them for being S.T.A.R. Athletes. Macayla Wells was also honored for all of her achievements that she has worked so hard for.

It was a remarkable event and you couldn’t help walking out of it without feeling motivated and inspired. Whether it was watching a slideshow of all the athletes in the WSRPD’s sports programs or listening to the speakers that were there, it left you with a good feeling.

Les Clark III opened up the ceremony by explaining what being a S.T.A.R. Athlete means. The S stands for sportsmanship. Kids play the game fairly and encourage others. The T stands for teamwork. Everybody works together to achieve the same goal. A stands for attitude. Always strive to have a positive attitude in the game and in life. The R stands for respect. Show respect to the coaches, the other players and your parents.

That was followed up by a video from Taft Union High School graduate and Olympian, Billy Nelson. He was unable to attend the event, but wanted to send the athletes a congratulations and also speak to them about the things they need to do to continue being standout athletes on the field and in life.

Another Taft High and college standout, Melanie Parrent, also sent a video which featured photos of her through her amazing career. The local Hall of Fame inductee conveyed a message about working hard to achieve your goal. She told the athletes that they were going to have to set goals and then put in the necessary time and effort to see those goals achieved.

Ryan Beckwith, owner of A3 Sports and Wellness in Bakersfield, was the guest speaker for the event. A3 Sports is a company the helps it’s clients optimize their personal health and performance. Macayla Wells trains here and Ryan works with her.

He began with a quote by Victor Hugo, “There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” He followed that with a story about how his father had a dream to get out of Georgia and he made that dream come true using athletics.

Ryan asked the kids how they wanted to be remembered in life. “It comes down to your daily life, what is your work ethic, do you dream about it do you visualize it, do you wake up and do it on a daily basis. It is not just what happened on the field because one day all of that will be over and you have to be okay with that. It is about what you learned, who are you because of that and are you able to pay it forward, much like the volunteers and coaches and everyone in here who is supporting these athletes. It is about paying it forward and staying positive.”

It was great for the kids to hear what this man had to say. He told them to stay positive in life, no matter what kind of situation they face in life. He also said that they need to be able to visualize what they want in life and then go after it.

Stephanie House from the WSRPD was the next to speak and began by thanking all of the parents in the audience for the time that they have invested in their children getting them to practices and games. She also thanked the volunteers who have donated their time and knowledge to help teach the kids to play a sport and how to play with pride and respect. After that, the following list of names was read:
Maycie Barrett, Kylie Taylor, Jaycee Edgar, Joshua Edgar, Cierrah Franks, Blake Ashmore, Vienna Perier, Cooper Golling, Fatima Rivera, Giovanni Rivera, Nickolas Andrade, Rudie Fannon, Jose Guzman, McKenzie Montes, Malia Cutrona, Hadley Jones, Chris Bethel, Juliet Woodards, Julian Woodards, Jason Woodards, Nathan Crabtree, Jaden Lucero, Tristen Wade, William Romesha, Bryce Veach, Jordyn Veach, Brock Mizener, Alina Perez, Emmanuel Campos, Grayson Barnett, Hunter Melton, Carson Melton, Mason Cox, Jaylee Blaswich, Samir Navarro, Rylee Owens, Xander Griffith, Blayne Farman, Cyrus Gaylord, Zilah Gaylord, Robert Rios, Skyler Sutherland, Conner Goller, Carson Rodart, Josh Kinnaird, Brock Fuller, Joe Weber, Ronnie Veach, Cash Clark, Logun Clark, Blaine Neudorf, Eugene Rowland, Baylis Statler, KJ Downey, Ryan Bullard, Keagan Hackler, Kevin LeDuc, Lucas Dayton, Kane Dayton, Emily Ellis, Danica Diaz, Zac O’Dell, Kenadie Hale, Jessie Nix, Kyle Gorham, Levi Rowden, Logan Crabtree, Fynnley Arnold, Blake Gonzalez, Ali Swearengin, Cameron Wehunt, Isabell Leaf, Ashlyn Barrett, Brylynn Baker, Graycie Steele, Cloey Laureles and Cienna Offenburger.

These athletes were all awarded with medals because of the qualities that they demonstrated during their respective sport. Les Clark got up and congratulated them. He said sports doesn’t build character, sports reveals character. He followed that by saying it is a coach’s job to take an athlete where they can’t take themselves. After a few meow inspirational words, he invited Ray Wooldridge to the stage to say a few words.

Ray got up and talked about how he got involved with the WSRPD Track program. He also named a few athletes that have either come through the program or are still currently involved. Ray said that “winning is secondary, the most important thing is personal improvement. It is always about improving, putting a maximum effort into whatever you do. Maximum effort, whether in sports or in the classroom or on the job is of the utmost importance. As long as you give a maximum effort, no matter what it says on the scoreboard, you are a winner.”

He continued, “You can get smarter by working harder, you can become better at sports if you work harder, never be satisfied with yourself. It isn’t the hours that you put it but what you put into the hours, that is what matters. Remember it is always earned, it is never given.” Ray went on to talk about how he and Macayla met and the many accomplishments that she has achieved in her career so far and how all of that came from hard work and dedication.

Senator Shannon Grove came up on stage and said that she was impressed with what the WSRPD had done for these athletes. She congratulated Macayla Wells and that she was touched by her commitment, her drive and determination and her ability and her humility. She then presented her with a certificate from the State Senate. She also took a moment to take a selfie with Macayla in front of her wall of medals and awards.

Macayla then took the mic and thanked all of those that had ever coached her, telling them how much she appreciated them. She also thanked coach Ray and his family, her mom and dad, her grandparents and her friends. She also thanked Shannon Grove for taking time out of her busy schedule to come to the event and also thanked the WSRPD.

Macayla was also presented with a banner which listed all of her accomplishments thus far and it will be hung up in the gym at the Rec Center. Everyone in the audience stood up and gave Macayla a big round of applause.

The event was very successful and will be followed up by another one like it next year.