Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press


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On a balance beam

This winter sports season, Hafferty is taking over as the new gymnastics coach.

Kristi Hafferty has always been good at balancing. 

As a young gymnast, her best event was the balance beam. For the last twenty-four years, she has taught students at Liberty how to balance equations. Now, she is faced with something else to balance–coaching the gymnastics team while continuing to teach math classes. 

“It’s definitely busy to have all the requirements of being a teacher and then have practices and meets and all the things that come with coaching,” Hafferty said. 

She first began the sport when she was twelve years old and pursued her passion throughout her college years at the University of Washington. After graduating with a math degree, Hafferty was at a crossroads.

“I wasn’t sure what to do, but I knew I wanted to work with people,” Hafferty said. I became a math teacher because it seemed to have the right blend. Working with people and math is nice.”

 Later on, the demands of a busy teaching career as well as her young family took her away from gymnastics until this year. 

“I used to coach when my kids were really little, but my son is now 25, and my daughter is 28, so I thought I would pick it back up again,” Hafferty said.

Though she had stepped away from gymnastics for many years, the sport continued to hold a special place in her heart. 

“I still see some of the people I competed in gymnastics with. We’re really good friends, and we still go to UW gymnastics meets together,” Hafferty said.

She has found that her two passions have more in common than meets the eye. 

“There’s a piece of gymnastics where you’re trying to maximize your points and score as high as you can. It’s about how you put things together. It’s a little equation, which is similar to mathematics,” Hafferty said.

AP Statistics and Geometry require hard work. Gymnastic tricks like her favorite move, “the giant”, where the gymnast spins 360 degrees on the uneven bars, require just as much effort.

“It’s a hard sport to learn new things which is just like many different things in life, so it’s a great opportunity to build those skills of working hard,” Hafferty said.

As she begins her new balancing act, she is filled with anticipation for the new season.

“It’s a little scary to go back to it,” Hafferty said. “But I’m excited that the athletes here at Liberty will have an opportunity to participate in gymnastics, and that I can help share the fun and unique parts of the sport.”

About the Contributor
Ellie Nishino
Ellie Nishino, Staff Writer
Ellie Nishino is a sophomore at Liberty High School and a staff writer for the Patriot Press. She has a great passion for filmmaking and walking her dog, Toby.