The student news site of Corona del Mar High School

Trident

The student news site of Corona del Mar High School

Trident

The student news site of Corona del Mar High School

Trident

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CdM Spotlight

Featuring Coach McCaffrey, Erika Wein, and Will Takara
Photos+of+those+featured+in+this+article.+Photos+courtesy+of+Coach+McCaffrey%2C+Will+Takara%2C+and+Erika+Wein.
Photos of those featured in this article. Photos courtesy of Coach McCaffrey, Will Takara, and Erika Wein.

CdM is home to an array of students and staff that have accomplished an array of things. In Trident’s newest column, these exemplary residents are given the opportunity to be highlighted. This month’s Spotlight is no exception, shining light on the hard work and dedication of head baseball coach, Mr. McCaffrey, the ASB senior class’ dedication to supporting illnesses, and girl’s flag football captain and founding member, Erika Wein with the release of her new children’s book.

Coach McCaffrey has been at CdM for seven years now and as an athletic minded person he always knew he wanted to be in sports. Following in the footsteps of both of his parents, he got into teaching and coaching right out of college. Throughout his career he has received many accolades, including a student elected Teacher of the Year award at his previous school, recognition as a pioneer in the Turf Industry last year, and California State Rookie Athletic Director of the year. 

His favorite part of his job are “… the interactions with the students. You come to school everyday, and there’s going to be something new and exciting. I absolutely love coaching, that’s my passion… I don’t get to play anymore, so this is my way of competing and [getting to teach] the great game that I love, to these boys, is a dream come true.” Emphasizing his love for his job, he points out that many people aren’t happy in their jobs, but he gets to “… go to a job that I absolutely love and deal with kids and colleagues that I really enjoy being around.”

The turf management teacher believes that “Showing [students] that I care for them and trying to find little ways to connect with students and to get through to them,” is a vital part of his job. As a past student athlete himself, he knows “… how neat it is and how great that experience is and I want to make that experience as great as possible for as many students as possible.” To accomplish this goal he believes in, “…showing them that you love them and showing you truly care for them and that you’re going to fight for them and if they’re doing what you ask, and we ask a lot in our program- if they’re willing to do it, we’re going to fight for you and be on your side and support you in any way we possibly can. I think the boys in our program know that. I think the other athletes on campus know that they can come to me and I [will] support them and go to their games and do whatever I can to support these kids.” He also believes strongly in rules and all the small details, “So I am tough on people who don’t follow the rules, but I also love my players and my students when they do [follow the rules].” 

Unable to pinpoint a singular favorite teaching or coaching story, McCaffrey revels in the support he received from his present and previous colleagues while he was out work due a brain tumor. During that difficult time, he found comfort in, “… everyone checking in and dropping food off and just those relationships are what’s truly special.” The PE teacher also revealed, “When you go through something like I went through, you value things in life a little more. I value my relationships with my wife and my 20 month old daughter and my relationships with friends and colleagues. Those are the things that really matter and other things kind of take the back seat.”

The ASB Seniors are trying to go out with a bang this year, committing their last year at CdM to donating to a variety of illnesses and setting up events to raise that money. Senior Class President, Will Takara explains that this cause is important to the senior class because, “We have so many different clubs related to illnesses like [CdM for CHOC] which is ran by a couple of guys in the senior class who have gone through [illnesses] and overall there’s a lot of people who want to go into the medical industry.” 

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the senior class setup a series of fundraisers at the pink-out game on the sixth. During the game a amscot run was held and each kid who participated paid $10, they sold leftover pink-out shirts for $5, and had a table set up where people could make donations. By the end of the night, they had raised $288 to donate to breast cancer research.

Future plans are still in the works, but their big event will be in the second semester. Takara is “… thinking of a blood drive, but obviously I’m still working with my class counsel on that. The Mascot run was really fun for everyone [who participated] and for everyone who watched, as well. So I want to keep that level of entertainment while also promoting certain illnesses.”

Flag football captain, founding member, and long-time player, Erika Wein, has endured many hardships in her journey as a female in a previously male-dominated field. She channeled all of these experiences into a new children’s book, The Underdog, with the goal of showing “… girls that they can do whatever they want, and not necessarily girls, anyone, can do whatever they want, as long as they put in the work and dream hard.” 

In second grade, Wein, who grew up in a football-focused family, decided to start playing flag football. When she started out, she was the only girl on her team. Over time, she saw increasing interest from other girls her age and eventually she’d found enough to form a team. She explains that her dad helped them out and by fourth grade, they had their own team in the Friday Night Lights flag football league. Being the only girls’ team up against the boys’ teams, “We definitely heard some comments and people were surprised when we would walk out onto the field and they would kind of laugh at us, but then we would beat them.” A year later, the team won the league and Wein describes it as “… a nice little ‘I told you so’ kind of thing.” That team lasted until they aged out of the league in middle school. Wein assumed that was where her flag football career ended, however in 2021 “… an old teammate of mine, Peyton Vovan, who is in my grade, came up to me and told me that other schools were starting [flag] football clubs.” By 2022, a flag football club was formed at CdM and, “from that all these amazing opportunities happened,” and this year flag football has become a CIF sport.

“I wrote this book that kind of mirrors my experience with flag football and I did it in the style of a children’s book to inspire the younger generation,” Wein describes. She points out that the sport is in its early stages, but it is growing, “So I want to make an impact on girls and show younger girls that this is an opportunity and not to limit themselves. I took the opportunity to share my experience with younger kids and to show them that they can do anything they want. If someone would have told me, when I was in second grade, where I would be now, I would have never believed them.”

Since the release of the book, she has sold over 100 copies. Although she benefits from sharing her experience, she is focused on trying to get this book to as many people as she can and she wants to, “… take that and make a difference with that, so all the proceeds are going to the Women’s Sports Foundation.” Wein goes on to detail that “Their main [goal] is to combat inequality in sports and to give money to women’s sports that are not receiving equal pay and [try] to make up for that.”

Despite this book reaching number fifty-one in children’s sports books on Amazon and increasing in sales, the process of making the book was difficult. Wein reveals that the hardest part “… was translating the theme of this book into a children’s book because you have to make it simple enough for a five or six year old to understand and then besides that getting it published was another really difficult part.”

Wein strives to make an impact on young girls, and recently got to see that impact in action. “I was driving home yesterday and this team of second graders were practicing flag football, so I pulled over and I actually had a couple books in my car. So I pulled over and I said ‘Hi’ to them and they wanted me to sign their books… it’s cool to see that I have an impact online, that people are actually buying [the book], but it’s also cool to see it in person and share my experience with them and they were so excited to meet me.”

Overall, Wein hopes that children understand that “… the book is about earning respect and not just by demanding it, but working hard for it.”

Coach McCaffrey’s recent hardships and endurance has made headlines and a few local news cites, Wein has been able to establish a lasting impact on CdM and young children, and the senior class has just begun their efforts in making a difference. All of these hard-working individuals are exactly what Trident had in mind for this column.

To recommend anyone for next month’s spotlight, you can email us at [email protected] or DM @cdmtrident on Instagram.

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