James Sharpe, Staff Writer
October 23, 2015
Lights, cameras and nearly 100 people filled the East Gallery in Founders Hall as eight-year-old Brooke Austin signed to Guilford College’s women’s lacrosse team on October 7.
“They made me a member of the team,” said Austin in an interview with The Guilfordian. “I was very happy and made lots of new friends.”
Austin was paired with the women’s lacrosse team by Team IMPACT, which matches children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses with college teams across America.
This organization gives the children a chance to experience the joy of collegiate sports and create new friendships that they otherwise may not get the chance to experience.
Team IMPACT has been pairing kids with colleges for decades and this year Guilford had the honor of partnering with this group.
“This is an organization that you have to apply to get connected to,” said women’s lacrosse head coach Sarah Lamphier. “Last fall we applied and over the summer we got the email from Team IMPACT and we finally met Brooke in September.”
After a year of waiting through the application process, Guilford finally found their match.
Spirits were high as people crowded the new signee. As cameras flashed and young Austin officially signed to the team, the audience began to clap, whistle and cheer for women’s lacrosse’s newest teammate.
“I am so excited about this opportunity,” said Lamphier. “This is such a wonderful program. Not only will Brooke benefit from being a part of the team, but also the team will benefit from having Brooke as well.”
After the signing itself, students had a small interview session with Austin. At this moment, the shy young girl blossomed into an exuberant new Guilford Quaker.
When asked what her favorite movie was she replied, “My favorite movie is Frozen and I can sing the entire movie,”
When asked what she was most excited about with the team she said, “Being able to cheer for the team and even play some.”
Finally, when asked if she felt like a superstar she answered, “Yes” with an enthusiastic smile.
She became famous within the Guilford community instantly. Nearly every sports team on campus had members show up and congratulate Austin. Group pictures were taken, people made welcoming signs and a large cake was presented to Austin, which made her eyes light up.
“To have everyone show up like this today truly epitomizes Guilford College,” said Lamphier. “This is going to be a really wonderful partnership for Guilford and our team.”
Austin and her family are now officially a part of the Guilford College community. Students, faculty and the athletics department have welcomed their family with open arms.
“I want to thank everyone for what they’re doing for Brooke,” said Brooke’s father, Donald Austin. “I am trying to give her the best life that I can give her. Guilford College has been so nice and helpful through all of this.
“We feel like we have now become family with Guilford College. You all are our family now too.”