In partnership with the Matt Wyble Team of Century 21 New Millennium, the Severna Park Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month series seeks to recognize the many student-athletes in our area who make an impact not necessarily by way of statistics or stardom, but by their unique contributions. The quiet leader, the solid role player, the glue guy or gal, the community voice on or off the field — those are the kids we seek to recognize. Do you know a young person in our community making a positive impact through or alongside sports? Nominate them by contacting Colin Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like many student-athletes seeking to get the most out of their opportunities playing sports, Severna Park rising senior Katrina Schultz has taken lessons learned playing for the Falcons’ county-championship golf team and applied them to other areas of her life.
“Being on the Severna Park golf team for the past three years has allowed me to grow immensely because even though our scores count individually, they also count for the team,” said Schultz. “This means that no matter what, you have to be a team player and cheer on your teammates.”
It’s a sentiment Schultz has applied to her role in the school community as one of a handful of student leaders of the Our Minds Matter movement that seeks to de-stigmatize mental health issues and promote mental wellness initiatives among teens in the community.
“I helped start Our Minds Matter because I became aware of the genuine need for more mental health resources in public schools,” said Schultz. “And the more I started to talk about mental health with my classmates, the more I realized that the stigma isolates people in their own struggles instead of being able to share what they’re going through with others, which creates a supportive and understanding environment. High schools should be that kind of environment because as teenagers, we already face so many pressures and challenges, and figuring how to mask how we really feel should not be one of those challenges. We started OMM with the goal that we want more resources to help students realize that they’re not alone in their struggles and that it’s OK not to be OK.”
Severna Park golf coach Pete Buck has seen Schultz take the lead on a cause she feels passionate about, saying she’s driven not by her own success but by the success of the group.
“She’s always been a hard worker and a leader,” said Buck. “She’s done well in the classroom and has been a great teammate. She’s been very proactive about Our Minds Matter.”
Helping others is not new for Schultz. Through her church, St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, she has gone on three mission trips to Kentucky and North Carolina over the past two summers to repair homes for local residents as part of the Appalachia Service Project. The experiences have helped her realize how fortunate she is to live in a community like Severna Park, reaffirming her drive to help those in need.
“I’m really passionate about going on mission trips like ASP because it puts into perspective not only how lucky I am to live in a community like Severna Park, but also that you don’t need money, or a degree from a top 10 college, or lots of friends to be happy,” Schultz said. “I would recommend that everybody go on at least one mission trip in their life.”
Maintaining perspective is something Schultz strives to do in her personal life. While she is a good student, she said she learned last school year that her efforts must serve her internal drive, not external motivations.
“My junior year, I really challenged myself and took four AP classes and almost all the rest honors, which I quickly learned was too much for me,” she said. “It’s hard in school, especially at Severna Park, to not compare yourself to your classmates when it comes to test scores and grades, but I worked really hard on my schoolwork and I was proud of myself, which is all that really matters.”
She plans to continue to raise awareness of the need for mental health resources with the aim to let anyone who is struggling know that there are people all around them willing to help.
“If I could say one thing to everybody struggling with mental illness, it would be that your mental illness is not a personal failure and in no way affects who you are as a person,” Schultz said. “I would definitely emphasize that they are not alone in their struggles — there are so many people around us who are fighting similar battles, and there are even more who will be there to support them.”
Want to get involved with the Our Minds Matter movement? Follow on Instagram at @ourmindsmattermvmt for updates.