School & Community News

Looking back: When HNW spoke with Dawn Staley
April 16, 2024

Over the past two decades, Healthy NewsWorks reporters have had enviable opportunities to interview thought leaders and household names to unearth important lessons in healthful living. In looking back at their past interviews, one stands out in light of a recent moment now cemented in NCAA history.

South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley led her team to their third NCAA national championship victory this April. Many years ago, the Philadelphia native was interviewed by a group of scrappy Healthy NewsWorks reporters when she was coach of the Temple Owls.  

The students, seventh and eighth graders from North Philadelphia’s Duckrey Elementary School, earned the privilege of attending a basketball game hosted by Owls Basketball for more than 3,000 Philadelphia public schoolchildren in February 2008. During the game, which was played in the middle of the day, the Duckrey Healthy Post reporters sat in press seats on the basketball court to witness Coach Staley’s coaching talent and were invited to attend a press conference with her afterwards. 

The next month’s Duckrey Post featured the article “Duckrey knows Dawn Staley,” describing the former WNBA player and Hall of Famer as a “generous, approachable person” who was also “full of discipline.” The piece featured Coach Staley’s thoughts on the need for discipline, both mentally and physically, in order to achieve success. “You have to do what you don’t want to do to get what you want,” she was quoted as saying.  

In addition, the article highlighed Coach Staley’s success on the court from her years as a Dobbins High School student in Philadelphia to playing at the University of Virginia, starring in the WNBA, and earning three Olympic gold medals. 

Then eight years into her college coaching career, Coach Staley also spoke of growing up in the shadow of Temple University at 25th and Diamond streets and her efforts to give back to her childhood community and the WNBA via education and childhood obesity awareness. 
It pays to be an enterprising journalist—you never know when your past work may be used for present-day analysis. Sixteen years later, the Duckrey Post’s look at the six-time WNBA All-Star’s disciplined nature and years as an elite basketball player and coach still carries insights into her contemporary accomplishments.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.