By Hank Bond
The Greenup Beacon
Jessica Elliott, daughter of Derrick and Anita Elliott has been named the new girls’ golf coach at Russell High School.
Elliott, 22, has lived her entire life in the Russell area, except her time in Louisville for her college years at U of L.
She has a younger brother Josh.
“I am an alumnus of Russell High School. I attended Russell my entire school career and I am so excited to be coming back.
“I recently graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor’s in Science in Middle School Education with Concentrations in Mathematics and Science.
“I graduated with honors, Cum Laude, and I received two awards: the Joe Wilkes Award for Outstanding Student Teacher of Middle and Secondary Education and the Outstanding Teacher Candidate Award for Mathematics in Middle and Secondary Education.
“I am very grateful to have received these awards and I am very thankful that I was able to attend and receive a wonderful education from such a great institution,” she said.
The future will have many turns for the young graduate.
“Since I just recently graduated, I do not have a teaching job, but I am applying.
“I plan to teach either Mathematics or Science, or possibly both. I enjoy both contents and would be thrilled to teach either subject.”
While not a full-time teacher she will be on the links this golf season.
“I have recently become the Russell High School Girls’ Varsity Golf Head Coach.
“I am so delighted to take on the position because golf is a sport that I am very passionate about.
“I am also the Director of the Summer Lunch Program at Advance United Methodist Church, which will take place this summer starting on June 6 and ending on July 29.
“God has blessed me immensely and I am so excited for this new chapter of my life.”
Coaching golf will be her first experience leading a group.
“I was named Head Coach this past week and I will start working with the team this summer as the new season kicks off.
“I have reached where I am now with the support of my family, friends, and church.
“I started playing golf early on when my dad would take me to the course with him. I quickly took interest and ended up taking my mother’s clubs, which she was very happy to give up.
“I started on the golf team in sixth grade. At first it was all about learning the rules of the game. My interest continued to grow, so my parents did everything they could to support me.
“They allowed me to start taking lessons at the Bellefonte Country Club, while I was still in middle school. As I continued to work harder and grow as a player, my parents started taking me to Lexington for golf lessons with Larry Ward.
“Throughout my high school years, we made countless trips to Lexington. I remember even going to a lesson on my birthday one year, and thinking, I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way.
My parents and brother were at every practice, match, and tournament. Without their support and love, I never would have made it to this point.
“By my senior year, I was looking into playing in college, but I learned that God had a different plan.
“Even though I didn’t play at the collegiate level, I still continued to play for fun with my dad and friends.
“Every summer I play golf with a group of men from church.
“Without their love, support, and endless comic relief, I would not have such a love for the game.”
Her interest in the game came early and she has seen that through to the coaching position.
“I first became interested in the golf because of my dad, Derrick Elliott. He would take me to the course with him.
“I started on the green, just hitting some putts here and there, but quickly started trying to hit from the fairway and tees.
“My parents saw my potential and encouraged me to join the team my sixth grade year.
“I have prepared myself through hundreds of hours of practice and hard work. I am very appreciative of the opportunities I had to take lessons at the Bellefonte Country Club and at Man O’ War Golf, but I also had to put in a lot of work off the course.
“I had to practice drills in the living room, hit hundreds of buckets of balls at the driving range, and practice chipping and putting anywhere I could.”
While golf is her mainstay she isn’t singular in focus.
“My main projects are golf and the Summer Lunch Program. Last year, I took over as Director of the Summer Lunch Program. Although I am in charge of the program, I could not do it without the support and help from my church.
“Many members of the church and community come out throughout the week to help prepare, serve, and clean up meals, as well as fellowship and build friendships with other community members.
“If anyone in the community would want to volunteer their time to help with the program, they can contact the church at 606-836-5634, or myself at 606-831-0394.”
She hopes that her new position will allow her to lead others into the game.
“My long-term goals are to help middle and high school girls interested in golf pursue their interest and see how the game can not only relate to their everyday lives, but also their lives as students.
“I also plan on becoming a Middle School Math or Science teacher.
“Through teaching, I hope to impact as many lives as possible through guiding and supporting them. I want each of my students to see their potential and learn how to set and reach their goals.
“The main person that has helped me get to where I am today is God.
Without His guidance and love, I never would have made it to where I am now. I never would have imagined becoming the Golf Coach, but here I am.
“My golf coach, Angie Boyd, also played a major role in where I am now. Without her love, encouragement, and support, I never would have loved the game so much. I pray that I am half the coach she was to me.
“She showed me that a positive attitude is key and that I should always let go of the anger before I got to the next tee.
“She was always such a positive role model throughout my middle and high school years, and continues to provide love and support to this day.
“The thing I love most about golf is the wonderful friendships that can be built through the sport. Because of golf, my dad and I grew closer.
“During middle and high school, I became great friends with my teammates. We were with each other at practices throughout the summer and tournaments almost every weekend throughout the fall.
“We were there for each other during our best rounds, and our worst, but we were always there to support each other.
“I was also able to build friendships with girls from other schools through matches and tournaments.
“Since my competitive golf days finished, I have been able to build relationships with other friends through golfing.”
Jessica has a definite opinion on how to best be part of the game.
“I think the best way to reach your goals is to always be aware of what they are and where you are in the process of obtaining those goals.
“Keeping a list of your goals allows you to always remember and to be aware of them. I think for me a big thing that has helped me reach my goals is always keeping my faith and trust in God.
“There have been times in my life where I thought I would never obtain my goals, but God always provided a way.”