This year marked the 50th anniversary since the passage of Title IX, the revolutionary legislation that prohibited sex-based discrimination in federally funded athletics programs. To celebrate the successes and highlight the continued challenges of gender equity in sports, we’re interviewing athletes within the SGS community—from staff to alums to supporters—in a new blog series called “Get in the Game!”
For the past 13 years, April Lorenzo has overseen the athletics program at SGS. We talked to her about the best job in the world and sports at SGS.
How did you come to SGS?
In 2010 I was just out of college and wanted to coach here in Seattle, where I grew up. I ended up coaching SGS's 5th grade basketball team. The experience I had with those 5th graders really made me want to be a part of the school beyond coaching. Luckily Fleur, the Athletic Director at the time, reached out and offered me a job as her assistant. A few years later after Fleur moved on I became the Athletic Director.
That first team, just to see the joy on their faces and their energy, and the progress they made from day one to the end of the season made me want to come back. I also felt so welcomed from the staff and parents and students—I didn't have that at any other workplace.
Can you talk about your overall experience at the school?
The school has grown in different ways, from the curriculum to the students to the staff and faculty. I don't think of SGS as work; I love what I do. The main thing for me is to watch the kids grow, and whatever that progress looks like for them. They come in as quiet 5th or 6h graders and then they just blossom. To be able to be a part of that for their journey speaks volumes not only for what the school has done for the kids, but for the adults as well. Everyone always talks about how special this place is.
What is the sports program like at SGS, and how do you lead it?
For our program, we're not looking to create the next professional player. Our program is a safety zone where if you want to play, you have a spot on a team. We focus on teamwork, work ethic, using your body in a healthy way, keeping in shape, and what it means to be a team player and face adversity together. We want to make sure that each kid that comes to our sports program has a good experience.
I'm Filipino-American. My parents both immigrated here and I was the first one in my immediate family to finish college and receive my bachelors degree in Sports Management. I didn't have an Asian-American woman to look up to in the sports world growing up, because of that I later realized how much representation matters. If a kid sees me and says "hey, I can be an Athletic Director," that speaks volumes to me. At SGS, I want to make sure sports are accessible to all kids, and not have money be a barrier to entry.
What's special about teaching an all-girls and gender non-binary school?
One thing I know we pride ourselves on is having our kids use their voice at a young age, whether that's leading a community meeting or talking in front of doctors at a board exam or emceeing a luncheon of 800 people. We also want to see our kids in careers that they have not historically been in and provide opportunities for them to try tech and the STEAM fields so they can see themselves pursuing that in the future. Our staff and faculty always want to try and make SGS better—we pack a lot into a small school.
I tell people, I really love my job. The kids who come through these doors have impacted me in one way or the other, and I know deep down I've impacted some of them. It makes it all worth it.