5/16/2017 - “One ball for 20 kids? Well that’s not the best way to get these kids excited about sport....” Twenty years ago Kathy Azadian stood on the small basketball court outside of the Beverly campus of Covenant Christian School, offering PE advice to a volunteer pastor filling in as gym teacher for her five year old daughter. It was her generous nature and passion for athletics that lead Kathy to offer suggestions that day, wanting to see all the kids involved, moving, and using their bodies. Two years later, Kathy joined CCA’s faculty and quickly became an integral part of the growth and success of the Academy over the next 18 years.
What people often notice first about Kathy is her radiant smile and infectious joy, and it is obvious that these are gifts given to her from her creator. She is just plain fun to be around and the joy that she radiates is contagious. These are among the many qualities that have made Kathy such an effective teacher, mentor, coach, Athletic Director and Dean of Students. No matter what role Kathy has been asked to play, she has done it excellently, whether it’s supporting colleagues and the administration, or bringing the fun to Upper School student activities.
Twelve years ago Kathy was tasked with creating a competitive athletic program for our growing middle and high school programs. And while Kathy had never been an Athletic Director before, she jumped in and got to work. Networking and building relationships with other area Athletic Directors came naturally, and Kathy listened and received good advice from veterans at schools like Landmark and Pingree. It wasn’t always smooth, and there were some mismatched games along the way, but after a few years, the result was a successful and growing athletic department competing as a part of NEPSAC and fielding 13 teams each year. Then came entry into the MBIL and GIL leagues and the string of soccer, basketball and softball championships that followed. In her tenth year as Athletic Director, all four basketball teams gave her a very sweet gift...four championship wins all on the same day.
Kathy is always eager to talk about the amazing coaches she’s had the opportunity to work with over the years. Looking at a list of over 35 names, she reflected that it has brought her great joy to find coaches that love their sport, love the Lord, and know how to teach students well. She has enjoyed watching these coaches celebrate the big wins with students, but also loves seeing them mentor kids through a tough loss, and teach them how to deal with pain and disappointment. Kathy lights up when talking about students achieving something they didn’t think they could do. “It’s just awesome to see the expression on a player’s face when they do something they didn’t know they could do, but their coach believed in them, coached them, and then they crack that huge smile...pure joy! It’s just so fun to witness!”
Kathy, leading by example, has established a culture within the athletic department that is not the cultural norm these days. “We love our opponents!” she is quick to say. “Without them, we wouldn’t have a game.” As much as Cougar athletic teams love to win and play excellently, Kathy and her coaches have always been more concerned with her students’ integrity on and off the court. “Attitude matters. We play hard, and sport can bring so much joy, but never at the expense of an opponent.”
“Having known Kathy for 20 years, I have the utmost respect and deep appreciation for the dynamic leader, wise counselor, experienced mentor and dear friend that she has been to countless administrators, faculty members, coaches, parents and students. CCA owes a great debt of gratitude to Kathy for her many contributions over so many years as she has selflessly given of her time, talent and treasure for the sake of this great place called CCA that we all love.”
-Vicki Best, Property Manager & Softball Coach
As Dean of Students, Kathy has been a trusted adult mentor and has been instrumental in the emotional and spiritual growth of CCA students. She listens well and is purposeful in her interactions with students, helping guide them through what can often be confusing and turbulent years in their development. She has worked with students to develop their leadership abilities and challenged them to reach further than they thought was possible. “I chose CCA for my girls because it most resembled our home environment. Teachers reinforced the same biblical truths I was teaching them at home.” And this is something that Kathy has continued to do as Dean of Students.
“It has been a real privilege to witness the growth of so many students in every way, particularly in their confidence and in their love for one another. Over the years I feel like I have had the chance to see the best of these students everyday at school. Sitting ringside to adolescent growth has been totally entertaining...I’ve laughed with students and I’ve cried over students. They’ve taught me things and hopefully I’ve taught them a few as well. But nothing has been more special to me than our Wednesday morning Chapel services. There is a oneness that spans the whole community, bridging age differences, bringing us together as one body worshiping our Savior and Lord.”
After a period of prayerful consideration, Kathy decided earlier this year that it is time for her to close this chapter in her career and make room for what the Lord calls her to next. We have all been blessed by her tireless efforts here at CCA and in the way she has faithfully spoken the truth of Christ into the lives of hundreds of students with love, humor, and humility. While we are sad to loose Kathy as a colleague, we know she will remain a friend and a fan of CCA in the years to come. Thank you Kathy for all your years of service to the CCA community. You will be missed!
The entire CCA Community, Alumni, and Friends of CCA are invited to join us for a "Thank You!" reception for Kathy Azadian, Friday, June 2nd beginning at 2:45pm in the cafeteria. We hope you will join us.