Penelope Kim gives back to the sport she loves

By Grace Lee, Staff Writer

Abby Lam
Freshman Penelope Cruz takes a deep breath before serving the ball

As sweat drips down her chin, an exhausted Freshmen Penelope Kim sits on the sidelines, watching her middle school pupils bumping a white volleyball back and forth. While many students at Tigard High don’t go farther than playing their favorite sport, some go above and beyond. Kim coaches children in one of her favorite sports, which is volleyball. Juggling between her school, sports, music, and social life is anything but easy. Kim participates in a broad spectrum of work. She has a deep involvement in piano and is incredibly active in Tigard’s volleyball team. Kim is known at school for her cheerful and warm personality, and her peers only had but shining remarks to say about her.

“Penelope is a really unique person,” fellow ninth grade volleyball player Liv Harrison said. “She’s very inviting and spontaneous and always making jokes and trying to make others smile. She is really generous.”

“She’s very loud,” freshman Carly White said, “but I think it’s a really good thing about her.”

Kim started playing volleyball in sixth grade, when she joined the Fowler Middle School team.

Her coaching life began during her freshman year after hearing that the 2016 Onward Volleyball program at Fowler Middle School would cease to exist due to a lack of coaches. Kim was saddened by the news of the cancellation  of the very program that started her passion. After brainstorming ideas, Kim, alongside her freshmen friends, Eden Dalton and Olivia Harrison, volunteered to become the new middle school coaches.

Kim’s goal with the volleyball program is to spread the love and passion of volleyball that she carries to future players.

“I love playing volleyball. If they can see how amazing the sport is then they would love it,” Kim said about her middle school players.

Once the school day is complete, Kim,Dalton and Harrison, head out to Fowler. After arriving they help set up for practice, putting up the nets as well as inflating multiple volleyballs. Afterwards, they round up the sixth through eighth graders to start practice. All the children, being at different skill levels, adds variety to the team. Their goal is to cover the basics so all the kids would be on the same page.

“I realized that I have the ability to teach other people, and I never really knew that about me,” Kim said.

After warm ups they take role. The kids practice the first steps of volleyball, like bumping. Other than having a lot of fun with games like Queen of the Court and playing 6 on 6 matches, the kids gain experience and learn how to work as a team.

After a long day’s work of coaching, piano, and studying, Kim likes to relax by looking at memes on the internet. Her choice and recommendations of meme distributors include Tumblr and Instagram.

By the end of high school, she is striving to achieve an I.B. Diploma. “I hope to graduate with an I.B. Diploma,” Kim said. “I know a lot of people drop out after sophomore year but I really want to keep pursuing that because I want to get into a good college.”

Nothing comes easy in life, but the difficulties and challenges make life that much more fun. Kim’s hard work and dedication have already been recognized in the community. Her future is filled with abundant opportunities and while there may be hardships along the way, there’s no doubt that Kim will push through as the strong person she is and come out on top.