Coaching for college and softball

Whether it is encouragement from 1st base during a softball game or guidance towards a post- secondary plan, it’s not unordinary to spot Azariah Partridge lending a helping hand.

Partridge is starting off her second year as Cedar Shoals’ college advisor and assistant coach of the Lady Jags Softball team. The position of college advisor is a two year job, tasked with guiding Cedar Shoals seniors through their last year of high school and beyond. 

As a 2020 University of Georgia graduate, this is Partridge’s first job in a school setting. Some adjustments were necessary as she became acquainted with not only Cedar but a new job. 

“Coming in last year, it was definitely eye-opening. I wasn’t familiar with the school roles as far as the staff part. Of course I went to high school, but being on the student side things are different,” Partridge said.

Despite the initial adjustments, Partridge hasn’t let any of these challenges affect her work. As a college advisor, Partridge plays a major role in making sure that seniors are on the right track toward their desired post secondary plan, whether it be college, the workforce or the military.

Senior year is full of planning and preparation, and it’s Partridge’s job to help students balance that load. She aids seniors in drafting college applications or resumes, registration for the SAT or the ACT, setting up College Board or GAFutures accounts and answering any questions.

Partridge isn’t limited to just helping during the school day, as she also schedules and plans important events. From help with fee waiver to FAFSA workshops, she creates a multitude of opportunities essential for college or post secondary plan preparation.

This is also Partridge’s second year as a softball coach. A passion that began at a young age, softball has been a constant throughout her life. Her love is evident as she played in middle school, high school, rec ball, travel ball and next level JUCO (Junior College) ball. This involvement motivated her to share that love and passion with students by leading them on the field.

DEDICATED TO THE JOB: Coach Partridge cheers on the team as they play defend the field. She often supervises the players and offers support from the sidelines. “My passion for softball and obviously the love for the game definitely motivated me to step out and assist with coaching and motivate our girls to be their best selves on the field,” Partridge said. Photo by Kylie Toney

“My favorite part of coaching is definitely the girls, bonding with them, getting to know them and really pushing them to be their best selves,” Partridge said.

As Partridge heads into her final year as college advisor, she plans to return to UGA for graduate school and enroll in the Master of Education in Professional Counseling program in the summer of 2023. This plan doesn’t necessarily mean the end for her time as a softball coach. 

“Hopefully if my schedule allows, I will still be able to help out with coaching our softball team for another year. (It’s) still in the works,” Partridge said. 

Partridge doesn’t limit help to just in the counseling office or the softball field. She makes connections with her team members that are strong enough to last off the field. 

“Being a part of softball here has given me the ability to make relationships with the girls, and then also being college advisor here when I see the girls in the halls. The girls are telling their friends ‘Hey, college advisor, Coach P can help with this, this and that.’ So it’s all relating back to building relationships,” Partridge said. ”Building relationships as a staff member with our students is very important going forward so that students can feel like they can trust you.”

Senior and right fielder Destiny Fleming has experienced Partridge’s help first hand, both on the field and in the building.

Fleming is a returning player to the Lady Jags softball team, coming back for her second year. Partridge has helped Fleming understand and master skills such as batting, base running and fielding, all necessary to play successfully.

“She’s just an awesome coach. She knows how to explain stuff properly, like she will tell you what you need to do and she’ll show you. She’s very hands on and she makes sure that you understand what you’re doing,” Fleming said. 

Fleming has also received help during her post secondary preparation. With plans to go into the military after graduating, Partridge has been contacting recruiters and making an effort to solidify this plan.

“I am definitely that person that will be there, I’m a team player. That’s why I chose to take on this role as college advisor and also with coaching softball,” Partridge said.

Chloe Smith

Junior Chloe Smith is a new Staff Writer for BluePrints Magazine. Though she is uncertain of a career path, she is interested in Library Science. Smith enjoys reading and music. She hopes to step out of her comfort zone this year. She loves meeting new people and branching out.

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