Own Stamp on It

St. Charles High host to Title IX anniversary celebration


by Ben Steinhauer, Staff Writer

Title IX, L Anniversary (Ben Steinhauer)

A touchstone event in the history of not only St. Charles High School but with egalitarian legislation of the United States as a whole was clinched with both a JV and varsity volleyball game against Orchard Farm on Sept. 15 wherein two volleyball GAC Hall of Famers were recognized alongside the anniversary of the Title IX victory. Legislation that would ultimately rule in favor of coed accommodations. 

A resounding success that would intern many spearheaders of their respective sports departments as they have treaded unprecedented ground by incubating these sports to what they are today. Ruth Beardslee and Julie Williams were those honored at this ceremony. 

In a conversation with Ruth Beardslee, former teacher and volleyball coach for 31 years and Superintendent Jason Sefrit, she venerates the school with firm conviction, essentially with the same respect she has reserved for her peers that nominated her for this honor. 

“I was here 31 years – 30 years plus. That should tell you something, what kind of place this is,” she told Sefrit. 

Her and the Superintendent would part ways with a closing statement by Ruth that would express just how transparently she approaches the subject of her departure from the St. Charles School District. Saying that she had no contrition and no caprices that influenced her leaving at all. She felt it was just time to leave. She retired when she was 52. 

“I taught at this district for 30 years and I have never been sorry a day,” Beardslee said. “I didn’t leave because of retirement. I just left because it was time.” 

Her experience with volleyball doesn’t end there. She herself was affected by the onslaught of sports to which, as it pertains to Title IX, she can claim to be of the first generation who could hone their craft in the school environment. The beginning was marked by an unpaved advent at that. Regardless, her predecessors were also keenly aware of the momentous impact that Title IX might have on the lives of volleyball practitioners. 

“Of course I was very blessed. I had a wonderful teacher and coach myself. I’d say teamwork, work hard, set goals, all those kinds of things. But mainly teamwork. How you work with other people. Sometimes you have to turn your head. It’s not all perfect,” Beardslee said.

Volleyball is a sport where players would concede their pride for the welfare of their teammates. They play to each other’s strengths and are complementary in that regard.

Title IX, L Anniversary varsity huddle (Ben Steinhauer)

“If one of us is doing bad then with the rest of us it will also get in our heads as well,” Emma McLain, senior and varsity volleyball player said. 

From the coaching perspective it’s easy to see how tumultuous the malignant Covid era was because with quarantine it was unpredictable that the greatest assets on the team might just be sorely missed when they are needed most. 

“Anytime you have a new coach they kind of put their own stamp on it. That’s just the way it is with all sports. And when you’re in a public high school you can’t help what you get. You have to coach who walks through the door. And then you have to kind of find what works for that group of kids. You know?” Beardslee said.

Ruth Beardslee trained students in both tutelage in the classroom and on the gym floor. The impact she’s had has no doubt been a lasting one and it was certainly embodied through the induction ceremony. 

“The most special part of it for me is being recognized alongside Ruth Beardslee who is my mentor and was my coach and played such a big impact in my life. That was the nicest part for me,” Julie Williams, former SCHS volleyball coach and player said. 

Julie Williams might never know the extent at which Ruth and her life were interwoven. It was due in part to students like herself that gave Ruth Beardslee the impetus and the drive to push both her students and players and for Williams it included both. 

“Julie Williams’ mother and father were both very good friends of mine. She says that she had great parents. I was teaching here so I saw her everyday. I had her in class and she was my student aid. I had her on the volleyball team for four years. When you’ve been around someone so long you get to know ‘em. In her case I knew as an athlete and also we were in the classroom and I knew brother, Jamie. But her mom and dad were just stellar people. Her dad was a football coach. State champions,” Ruth said.

Volleyball is undoubtedly an inheritance and one at which the apotheosis of diligent work that can be put in may in fact officiate many future ceremonies. One of which may have the title of ‘Coach during Pandemic’. The cantankerous environment inherent in the isolation of Covid is clear in some especially with all of the pain endured at the behest of the virus. 

“It has given me an outlet after school to go and release my anger,” Emma McLain said. 

Until then the reliquary consisted of Ruth Beardslee which itself is rooted and informed by meaning. 

“Individually, I would say that, I saw all of the people that were nominated and I feel so honored to be in their company even if I didn’t do anything. You know what I’m saying? These are all my peers that voted for me,” Beardslee said. 

Some may feel that this is an honor that extends beyond meritocracy and vapidity abound in awards ceremonies. For this event the double take is all of the opportunities that would leave many a skin too few and deprived of the volleyball experience. 

“Volleyball opened a lot of opportunities for me to meet great people as far as teammates, coach with great people, provided me an opportunity to go to college and travel,” Julie Williams said.