Editor’s note: Savannah Cohen, a third grader at Tamaques School in Westfield, was recently selected to be a student journalist for Education Update. For her first assignment, she was asked to write a story to commemorate Black History Month. Savannah wrote about Duke University's star freshman lacrosse player Michelle Staggers. Staggers spoke to Savannah on the phone on Feb. 19, a day before a game against the University of Southern California. The story is slated to appear in Education Update in the March/April edition.
Who won two national awards for lacrosse and is a great student and surprisingly did not have lacrosse in her high school? The answer is the freshman Michelle Staggers who plays at Duke University. Michelle won the William Swan Formwalt ’32 Athletic Award given to the top high school female athlete and the Thomas Moore Carruthers ’20 Memorial Award as the top scholar athlete. “I just love playing the game of lacrosse it is so much fun,” said Michelle.
Michelle grew up in Stafford, Virginia with seven siblings. An interesting fact is Michelle’s dad is the owner of an ice cream catering business and Michelle’s mother takes care of the family. Michelle and her siblings worked for her dad in the summer. “My family is great,” said Michelle. “We have a big family and we have a lot of different things going on.” Michelle’s younger brothers play lacrosse and her older brother briefly played college lacrosse at George Mason University. He left because he wanted to concentrate on his studies.
On the field Michelle is Defense and Midfield. “I like the community at Duke and the people on my team they are like family” said Michelle. She seems like she has a really good time with her teammates when a reporter asked her questions on Feb. 19. Michelle began lacrosse in second grade on a rec team. “I watched the high school lacrosse team play and went with them on away games.” said Michelle and that’s what inspired her to play lacrosse.
Michelle loves working with kids. In the future she wants to be a journalist, teacher or lawyer. “My parents have been and huge impact on life” said Michelle. Another huge impact on Michelle’s life was not having a high school lacrosse team. She played on a club team called the Storms, in Richmond, Virginia. Later she went to a boarding school in Virginia to play lacrosse.
Michelle who is African American is thankful for all of those who helped her achieve her goals. Since February is black history month a reporter asked her about what it means to her.
"I think that Black History Month is a great time to remember African Americans that were fighting for equal rights in our country and it doesn't just have to be in America," said Michelle. "I also think it is really nice that we have a month to think of those people."