Distinguished Chapter Member Award
A first-time coaching experience with the Judson Youth Sports Federation http://www.judsonsports.org/home.php volunteer organization and recognition for those efforts from the honor society of two-year colleges as one of its 31 Distinguished Chapter Member Award recipients for the 2017 season are two recent graduation journey highlights for one St. Philip's College student from the Converse-Kirby area. The student is David Huerta (associate of arts kinesiology), and the awarding honor society is Phi Theta Kappa. Huerta was ceremonially honored with the society’s Distinguished Chapter Member Award in April and he will likely wear a commemorative medallion for award recipients during the St. Philip's College May 12 graduation ceremony. Huerta was nominated through the college's Psi Kappa Chapter team, based on an embodiment of society attributes (scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship), and is the third student from the college to earn the award.
As a candidate from one of the nation’s larger honor society chapters, Huerta was selected by a panel of judges from 143 nominees internationally. As a student, his award-worthy community activity with Judson Youth Sports Federation and with the college has been linked with his professional aspirations. Like hundreds of students at the college, Huerta worked to double the size of the East Side Community Garden located near the college. Huerta was a member of an unsung team that got more than they bargained for after pitching in when sponsors at the garden expressed a need to remove fencing in order to expand the property where seniors take produce home for meals.
“I helped the garden get bigger when they brought the lot next to it,” he recalled. “There was one of those chain link-type fences in between the properties that we had to take out. We thought we were going to take the fence down and that was going to be it. Sure enough, it took a lot more than that. We had to cut the chain links in the fence until it was able to roll off, and each stump had to be dug out from the cement on the bottom,” said Huerta.
Digging in to foster teamwork and leadership has been part of Huerta’s mission. Dating back to the days when the 2013 Wagner High School alumnus played for the Alamo City Diamonds basketball travel team during high school after playing football in middle school. And continuing through his volunteer work with federation programs for local children in the remaining final days of May after graduation on May 12.
“As a student in the community, I’ve actually run youth basketball camps and I took on a volunteer commissioner-type role for the Judson Youth Sports Federation Basketball Camp. I enjoyed working with those kids and my college degree experience was a perfect opportunity to give back, learn and practice my passion in the Converse area. I live between Converse and Kirby. It was a family friend who wanted my siblings to play in their sports league who introduced me to the opportunity. They know about my college life in bits and pieces. I'd seen all the stuff they were doing and figured they needed help. I offered and ran with it from there.”
Huerta completed his kinesiology practicums at Brennan High School with a physics teacher who taught football, and at Briscoe Middle School with about four periods of 20 kids per period, teaching physical education, and he explained how the practicum took his community volunteer to another level.
“Both practicums really helped as I went from coaching kids in sixth grade to working with the athletics portions of middle school, and seeing high school athletics. The very first Judson Youth Sports Federation Basketball Camp that I had hosted 40 kids in June (2016), at the Alamo City All-Stars Sportsplex.”
When Huerta explained how much he looks forward to hosting his fourth and final camp before he leaves San Antonio for El Paso to continue his college education in June, he expressed optimism about his quest to become a coach starting at the middle and high school level, and possibly moving to the college and professional levels.
“I made a connection since I've been coaching. At a state tournament, I met a coach currently at El Paso. When we talked he said he might be able to try to help me get a job. I found that to be pretty awesome. I was supposed to go to UTEP after I graduated from Wagner High School, but I ended up at St. Philip’s College,” said Huerta. “I have family in El Paso, and one year ago I toured the UTEP campus. I liked it and figured I would go there to study kinesiology and special education. I am now going to transfer to UTEP after I graduate at St. Philip’s College. The athletic side of a person’s life is much more than just an exploration of exercise, it’s an exploration of so many different aspects of life in general. If the opportunity to coach as an undergraduate or graduate assistant shows up in my future, I would probably take it,” Huerta said.
Huerta’s final camp events as a coach are on May 19 and May 26, both from 6-8 p.m. at the Alamo City All-Stars Sportsplex at 11471 E. Loop 1604 N. in Universal City. Among the guests viewing Huerta’s graduation are likely to be his parents and colleagues from the federation.
"I'd like to thank everyone in my organization for the amazing time I've spent with them,” said Huerta. “To all of the parents for allowing me to work with their child, Michele Gibbons (federation admin manager) and Sean Brien (federation vice-president) for allowing me to take on an increased role for the basketball part of organization, and letting me try the ideas I would come up with. I'm also sharing a huge thank you to the players for coming to practice, workouts and games, and for taking everything I taught them and being able to use those things moving forward. My parents (Amy and David Huerta), for supporting me throughout this whole journey. This Phi Theta Kappa recognition was much bigger than just myself, it is for all of them.”
Find the announcement on Huerta's accomplishment at the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society report Thirty-One Named Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Chapter Membershttps://www.ptk.org/Default.aspx?TabId=3936&ArticleId=516.
CAPTION: Graduating St. Philip’s College kinesiology student David Huerta (second from left in background) , joins Judson Youth Sports Federation basketball coaches and 40 players during the June 2016 game at the Alamo City All-Stars Sportsplex that was first basketball camp he hosted as a volunteer organizer. The end of a first-time coaching experience with the federation volunteer organization and recognition for those efforts from the honor society of two-year colleges as one of its 31 Distinguished Chapter Member Award recipients for the 2017 season are two recent graduation journey highlights for Huerta, who plans to transfer to UTEP following graduation May 12. (Courtesy image)