Dr. Orison Swett Marden was an American inspirational author who wrote about achieving success in life and founded SUCCESS magazine in 1897. His writings discuss common-sense principles and virtues that make for a well-rounded, successful life.
Coach Abby Herrera of Panorama High School in Southern California is proof that ordinary people who make a decision to put themselves out there, step outside the conventional lines, think outside the box and are willing to make great personal sacrifices for others proves Mr. Marden’s theory of extraordinary accomplishments.
For the young girls who desired to wrestle despite tremendous opposition from others, including well-meaning family members and no structure previously in place to do so, they will forever be thankful that Coach Herrera created a program for them to take advantage of and a great opportunity to pursue the sport that they loved.
Her ingenuity has come to the attention of the world.
The widely respected sports group maxpreps.com reported, “Panorama (Panorama City, Calif.) has formed the first all-girls wrestling team in the history of the Los Angeles United School District, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.”
The female wrestling community is thankful to Ms. Herrera for jump starting the program especially since she volunteered her time to do it.
The dailynews.com expressed, “Panorama coach Abby Herrera, 30, is a former soccer and volleyball player and wrestler, too. She played sports at Birmingham High and Pierce College before working with at-risk kids. That’s her passion.
Her wrestling team is made up of 21 athletes, most of them Latinas, and all of whom live in Panorama City. Most kids also come from low-income families.”
The publication quoted Ms. Herrera as stating, “”I’m blessed,” she said.” These girls work hard. For me, this is my dream job. This is such a release for them. It’s the best place to feel they can let out their aggression. A lot of them don’t want to be at home.
“Some of their home situations aren’t that great, so at times this feels more like family for them.”
As many of are aware here in Nor Cal, most female wrestlers in the state compete in Northern California. [adToAppearHere]
The Panorama girls’ team was honored by Councilman Tony Cardenas at a meeting. There’s a big plaque in the school’s front office.
When the team was honored, the city council gave the team $2,000. They were now able to afford an extensive wrestling mat.
Due to Coach Herrera’s extraordinary efforts, great things began to happen.
The CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) reported, “The Inaugural Girl’s Wrestling Championship was held Saturday, February 9, at Panorama High School. Sixty-seven girls competed in 13 weight classifications in the one day City Championship Tournament. The State CIF officially sanctioned Girl’s Wrestling for the 2011-12 season and the Los Angeles City Section followed by sanctioning the sport and a Section Championship for the 2012-13 season. This past Saturday, 67 girls competed in 13 of the 14 weight classifications at the Los Angeles City Section Championship.”
That is progress.
The team is now coached by Mr. Richard Ramos who originally began wrestling in 7th grade. By his 8th grade year he had been to Idaho, Nevada, Kiev and Moscow (the former Soviet Union on a cultural exchange). He later wrestled for a year under coach Jeff Smith and Steve Glassey at Cerritos College and then at Cuesta College under Gary Miessner where he was all conference in 1999.
Let’s visit the high school.
The school site panoramahs.org shares, “Panorama High School is located in Panorama City in the eastern part of the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. Panorama City was the first planned community in the San Fernando Valley developed by steel magnate Henry J. Kaiser and land developer Fritz B. Burns after World War II to provide homes for returning GIs.
Panorama High School is a newly constructed school, which opened its doors to students on October 3, 2006.”
What is the school’s main vision? They continue, “Panorama High School will provide a supportive, grade-level appropriate and personalized environment for our diverse population to receive a standards-based education. Every student at Panorama High School will be career ready and/or have a post-secondary option.” [adToAppearHere]
In some ways the school is a movie star.
- Panorama High School served as the location of the Costa Verde High School for Heroes (NBC) in late 2007.
- A JC Penney commercial was shot at the school, using some of the hallways, classrooms, the auditorium, and a band room.
- A new Disney Channel show Madison High was filmed for the first episode.
- The outside of the school was used during episodes of Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures
- Skittles Commercial was filmed in the area behind the bleachers.
Often in life we receive inspiration from unexpected places. It’s encouraging to see how someone like Coach Herrera who was not obligated to, made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many young girls.
Please remember their name. With an origin in self-sacrifice, hard work and humble beginnings, for the Panorama Python’s girls wrestling team, we are confident that the best is yet to come.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.