Coach Robinson, leader of the strong and friend to all

Image: New IHS Volleyball Coach, Jessika Robinson, stands in the middle of a few of the 2012-13 Lady Gladiators, as she watches a voluntary strength and conditioning session with some of her new student/athletes. Coach will meet all the high school girls wanting to play volleyball at try-outs on Aug. 6th.

New IHS Volleyball Coach, Jessika Robinson, stands in the middle of a few of the 2012-13 Lady Gladiators, as she watches a voluntary strength and conditioning session with some of her new student/athletes. Coach will meet all the high school girls wanting to play volleyball at try-outs on Aug. 6th. (Anne Sutherland)

You can see a familiar face in the Italy High School Multipurpose Dome these days, especially as high school volleyball fires up.

She is a friend from not too far back in the calendar of time and the students are happy to see her and have her as a coach. Coach Jessika Robinson, Italy graduate of 2006, was hired to coach the Lady Gladiators in volleyball.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she’s back and ready to put studies first and sports second. Coach Robinson will teach social studies to 7th and 8th grade. IHS principal, Lee Joffre said, “Miss Robinson is going to bring a new level of excitement to our classrooms. I think it is great she is an Italy High School graduate. She will be a wonderful addition to our staff and great role model for our students.”

As far back as probably the seniors and some staff can remember, Jessika Robinson has been running around the court, track or softball field in one form or another whacking balls and scoring points for the Lady Gladiators. Essentially being a positive role model on and off the field. Touting track and volleyball were her favorite sports in school, that fact wasn’t clear. Jessika gave 110% in everything she did — academics or athletics. You need to read a little about her sports background.

Moving to Italy in the second grade and continuing her high school education at IHS, Jessika participated in cross country, volleyball, basketball, track, softball, cheerleading, band, NHS and Student Council. Some of her awards include Lady Gladiator of the Year 2004-05, 2006 Volleyball District MVP, Blocker of the Year 2004-05, Track Regional Qualifier 2003-2006 and Track State qualifier 2006. This tidbit only scratches the surface, folks.

Miss Robinson went on to Hill College after graduation and played volleyball from 2006-2008. She continued her education at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama in the following year, in which she received All Region Team in 2009. She finished and received her Bachelor of Science degree in History from University of North Texas.

Asking about different influences in her life, Coach Robinson said, “I would have to say that all of my coaches in high school inspired me in some way: Andi Windham, Lisa Mott, Johnny Jones, Mike Saucke, Kyle Holley and Scott Jones. They taught me to always do my best and to work hard in any and everything I do. My plans for the Lady Gladiators is to set goals together as a team and to see each one through one goal at a time.”

She has a wonderful support group that includes her family. Mom, Felicia Burkhalter from Stafford Elementary Library and father, Billy, little sister, Brianna Burkhalter and big sisters, Courtnei Robinson and Markesha Burkhalter. Lots of love and support, “My family and friends are very happy and supportive of me. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful loving people in my life. I know that without God none of this would be possible and I am so grateful and excited to have this opportunity.”

Robinson’s immediate plan is to meet the athletes and follow up with a parent meeting, “I have not met all of the girls but I plan to have a parent meeting during the week of two-a-days. There will be a tryout held on Aug 6th at 5pm for any high school girls interested in playing this 2012 season.”

Excitement is high for our Lady Gladiators and Coach Jessika Robinson can fill the bill. Just watch her!

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