Saratoga Springs student Ellie Siebeneck
Ellie Siebeneck is a senior at Saratoga Springs High School. She is a member of the Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team and plays soccer for Saratoga-Wilton Soccer Club.
Siebeneck works as a a soccer coach for the Saratoga Recreational Department and volunteers at St. Clements Catholic Church’s SNAC pack Program. Siebeneck is involved with the Act With Respect Always program founded by local coach Rich Johns.
Q: How did you meet Coach Rich Johns?
A: “I met Coach Johns as a rising seventh-grader on the first day of Girls’ Varsity Tennis tryouts. I can still remember how nervous and intimidated I was by the older girls on the team. Coach Johns came right up to me and introduced himself and the other members of the team. I immediately felt much more relaxed and comfortable knowing that he was there, looking out for me if I needed anything.
“Now, 6 years later, Coach continues to come support our team constantly and to this day, seeing him still calms my nerves if I’m in a close match!”
Q: How did you hear about Act With Respect Always?
A: “Before meeting Coach Johns, I had always seen signs and posters around Saratoga, but it wasn’t until Coach Johns spoke to our tennis team on the first few days of practice that I learned the full extent of Coach’s program… As soon as he began to talk, I could immediately see that the older girls had the upmost respect for him and the message that he was sharing.
“After he was done, he gave us all wristbands that many of the girls continued to wear throughout the season as a constant reminder of Coach and his mission.”
Q: How has the Act With Respect Always mission affected you personally?
A: “The Act With Respect Always mission has not only affected me on the court, but off the court as well. Just last season, we were able to put up Saratoga Tennis banners with Coach’s message on them on our home courts. During my matches, I always try to achieve “my 99” by making good line calls and being respectful to my opponents, win or lose!
“On a larger scale, Coach Johns’s program has caused me to become far more conscientious about not being so quick to judge others, and always being the best person I can be.”
Q: How have you, or how will you in the future pay it forward?
A: “Coach Johns and his message has inspired me to “Pay it Forward” and give back in my own community. After learning about his mission, I have become a volunteer at St. Clements Catholic Church’s SNAC pack program. This amazing organization helps prepare foodfilled backpacks for under-privileged children within our school district to take home for the weekend.
“Additionally, I have had the incredible opportunity to travel to Cusco, Peru and Accra, Ghana to volunteer in their communities. Each trip, I have worn my Act With Respect Always bracelet, and consequently have had the chance to explain what the Act With Respect Always program is and what it means to me.
“Seeing the smiling faces on these children who have so little has made me so grateful for all of my blessings and has thus motivated me to continue to share Coach’s message wherever I go in life!
Q: How would you describe the Act With Respect Always mission to others?
A: “The Act With Respect Always mission has been, and continues to be an inspiration to me. It has taught me to always have self-respect as well as to always respect those around me. It has trained me to be less judgmental of myself and others and encouraged me to always try to be the bigger person. Coach’s message of “What’s Your 99% Today?” has kept me conscious of my actions and how they could potentially affect others.
“It has also allowed me to look beyond what is on the “outside,” and focus on seeing everyone’s true character. Coach’s mission shares very important life lessons that are essential to creating a kinder, and more respectful world for tomorrow.”
Ellie Siebeneck is a senior at Saratoga Springs High School.