Small Numbers, Big Grit

Understanding the power of contributing to a team, the Still family gives to the Graham Athletics & Wellness Center as a team.

Jim Still OPC ’75 has studied the competitive landscape and realized long ago that Penn Charter athletics is at a disadvantage in the Inter-Ac because of the school’s size, especially in boys sports. 

“Penn Charter is never going to beat people just by sheer numbers because we’re not a big enough school. Haverford and Malvern, they are twice the size,” Still said. “We succeed because kids are committed to the concept of team.” 

Still’s three sons—Ryan OPC ’03, Derek OPC ’05 and Colin OPC ’08—were specialists in lacrosse but they were three-sport athletes, contributing to that sport in the spring and to a combination of soccer, football and swimming teams in the fall and winter. 

“There are plenty of schools where you can excel in one sport or another,” Colin said. “What is exceptional about Penn Charter is that everyone has to reach for their limits to see what they can provide to the team.” 

It’s about putting aside ego, Derek said, “and contributing determination and spirit to raise up the team.” 

A favorite team memory of Ryan’s was the lacrosse state playoffs in 2003. Although PC lost to Radnor, “it was a great game, and it was four years in the making. We had good teams each of those four years but never as good as that one.” 

 Like many who are making gifts to the new Athletics & Wellness Center, the Stills hope that the new facility, combined with the tenacity and teamwork of PC athletes, will produce more success and more trips to state championships. “There are always places at Penn Charter to excel academically or in the arts,” Ryan said. “This new facility is a shot in the arm for sports, and PC athletics is ready for it.” 

With their gift the Stills will name a new interactive work space for coaches and recognize the role that coaching plays in the success of teams and in the lives of young athletes. 

 “Athletics were important to sculpting our identity and character,” Colin said. “We learned lessons through our coaches, through our teammates, through adversity. We really hope that this gift will extend the same opportunity to future Penn Charter students. We mean that very sincerely.” 

Jim and his wife, Jill, are also proud and grateful parents. “We are appreciative of the important role that Penn Charter played in the lives of our sons and of our family,” Jim said. “We look forward to the role that this new facility will play in the growth of PC athletics in the future." PC