October 1st marked the start of UMW's second annual Ten for Ten Challenge, in which student-athletes give back to support their teams and the athletic program as a whole. The goal is for each student-athlete to contribute $10, and get 100% participation within each team. Student-athletes understand that private funding through the Eagle Club has been integral to their athletic experience at UMW, and want to pay it forward for the next generation.
This year, the Ten for Ten Spotlight Stories will feature three outstanding members of the Mary Wash community: one current student-athlete and two young alumni who have all chosen to give back. Today's story focuses on softball captain Kara Deppe '19.
How has the UMW athletic program influenced you as a person and as an athlete?
I cannot remember a time when I did not play a sport. Sports are a part of me, softball especially now. I have learned so much about myself and about life through participating in athletics that I would have never gotten to experience or know if I had not been playing. Although I was not sure whether or not I would continue playing softball in college back then, when I met Coach Conway and was given the opportunity to continue my softball career, I changed my mind and realized I would be lost without the sport I have played for so long. The UMW athletic program has taught me how important it is to be inclusive and open-minded. There are so many different learning and teaching styles. Managing college, a social life, and sports is tough. However, I have learned that sports and just about everything else in life is about finding a balance, accentuating your strengths, and improving your weaknesses through hard work, dedication, commitment, and the help of others.
What do you hope to accomplish in the rest of your time as a UMW athlete and student?
I want to win the CAC tournament so badly! We came very close last year, and I would love for us to do it this year and keep playing into the NCAA tournament. I am one of the captains for the softball team this year, and would also like to incorporate more community service into our program so I am really excited to do that. Academically, I want to finish my last year here strong and to get into graduate school!
We understand that students do not have a lot of disposable income. What inspired you to give back through Ten for Ten?
I love my team and I know how important this money is for us and our program.
Did any experience in particular demonstrate to you the importance of supporting your athletic program, and UMW as a whole?
Every year, we go on a spring break trip. For the past two years, we have gone to Myrtle Beach. This trip is always right before our regular season begins and is a great way for us to play other teams and try new things. I love this trip because the team gets to spend so much time together and takes team bonding to the next level. Last year, we performed really well during our trip and gained a ton of confidence which was a great experience to have right before our season began!
The Eagle Club's mission is to "maximize opportunities and strengthen support-services for UMW student-athletes." How did you see this mission come to reality for you and your teammates during your time at Mary Wash?
While I've been here, we have been able to go on our spring break trips, buy new equipment, practice gear and uniforms, and afford our travel buses and food! We also have programs like eagles helping eagles, SACC, and leadership academy to engage and help student athletes grow and learn.
If you were speaking to a group of current Eagles, what would you tell them about the Eagle Club?
I would tell them the money donated to our athletic programs is so helpful and very much appreciated by all of us!
Current Student-Athletes can give today online by clicking on the tab below. In order to track your gift for the Ten for Ten Challenge, please be sure to write "Ten for Ten" in the "Comments:" section under "Additional Information".