In addition to awarding the student athletes their various MVP and most improved player awards, this year’s Fontbonne Sports Awards dinner had a bittersweet taste as Athletic Director Donna Schirippa announced her resignation from the position that she had relished for the past eight years.
In 2007 when Schirippa was asked to fill the part time position of athletic director at her daughter’s school, she quickly found out that the job required full-time involvement for the program to continue successfully.
Recognizing that a sports program was an essential entity for a girls’ high school, as well as a draw for enrollment, Schirippa set the bar high to make the Fontbonne sports program more competitive.
Drawing from her softball coaching background and her administrative skills, Schirippa first revamped the coaching staff. With a group of remaining coaches and some new hires, Schirippa challenged the coaching staff to get the most from their teams to make it a worthwhile experience for the girls.
“I will really miss her,” said friend and long time Softball Coach Frank Marinello. “She really put Fontbonne on the map. She really increased Fontbonne’s visibility when she hired Steve Oliver for basketball and Linda Strong for volleyball.”
Along with Marinello’s softball program and the addition of those two new coaches, Fontbonne has gone on to become a perennial playoff contender for those three sports.
In acknowledgement to her contribution to the school, Assistant Principal Gilda King along with Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric presented Schirippa with a plaque that read: With deep gratitude and appreciation for your dedication and tireless efforts in promoting the Sports Program at Fontbonne Hall Academy – May 20, 2015 – Sports Dinner Awards.
In closing, Schirippa’s daughter Ashley, a two-sport (basketball and softball) student athlete while at Fontbonne, concluded the evening with a heartfelt tribute that thanked her mother for pushing her as a student and an athlete, the same way she did for the students at Fontbonne.