Federal Way Public Schools Alumni of Note
Amy (Allmann) Griffin
Decatur High School
Graduate, Class of 1984
Amy Griffin, who is now associate head coach for Women’s Soccer at the University of Washington, graduated from Decatur High School in 1984 and attended college at the University of Central Florida. She first discovered her love and passion for team sports when she tried out for the volleyball team at Lakota. What she learned from her public school experience in Federal Way schools has served her well as both a soccer player and a coach. Now she passes that knowledge onto college students in her day job and high school students she coaches outside of work.
In high school, what activities did you participate in?
I joined a ton of athletic activities, band – I was involved in almost everything. I painted lockers, built floats and was a campaign manager. If someone told me what to do, I did it. I was a follower, not a leader and painfully shy until it came to sports, but then I showed no shyness at all. I played volleyball, basketball and softball. Soccer wasn’t a school sport then.
What are you most significant or recent accomplishments?
I have two awesome kids, both boys; one is four years old and the other is six. My husband, Jack, also puts up with my tomboy ways for which I’m glad.
I was on the first Women’s World Cup Soccer Championship Team in 1991 and I was the first female to earn both a National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCA) Premier license and a United States Soccer Football Association (USFFA) license. Currently, I serve as the assistant coach for a U 17 (under 17 years of age) national team that is on track to win the first World Cup for that age group in New Zealand this October.
Please describe an experience, event or individual in your public education experience that inspired or motivated you.
It was something I did that I still regret. I dropped out of Honors English when the first paper I turned in was obliterated with red ink. I didn’t listen to anyone, even all my friends who had the identical experience with their first paper in that class. Everyone told me to stick with the class. I just felt like I couldn’t turn it around, yet the second I quit, I knew I’d settled for the easy route and I have never done that again. Now, I never settle for the easy way out, so that was an experience that motivated me and one that I carry with me to this day.
What advice would you like to share with teachers in schools today?
Teachers would be shocked to discover what students remember. Even though teachers don’t think their students are listening, at least one always is. Maybe not the same one, all the time, but if teachers pretend that they are teaching to an audience of one, they will be right on. One teacher pushed my button to get me to work harder, another prodded me on another day. Teachers need to hang in there. And I personally thank them – I can’t imagine doing what they do everyday.
Is there any coach, teacher or other Federal Way school district personnel who especially stands out in your mind? Who? Why?
Miss Kirk, who was tough and didn’t smile, coached volleyball at Lakota and volleyball was the fist sport I tried out for. Some of the kids on the team were older than I was. I found the tryouts downright painful, yet I loved every minute of them. She was my first real coach and she never told me I was doing well if I wasn’t. I respected her total honesty. If she said, “Nice job” to me that carried me through at least two weeks. I liked being pushed. This was when I first new I was going to stay in athletics.
Ms. Blocki was patient enough to weather my inconsistence as I bricked all my basketball shots against the backboard, Mr. Baker taught me how to enjoy sports regardless of the outcome and Mr. Flynn taught me how to lay down a squeeze bunt, which I appreciated.
What advice would you like to share with students in schools today?As with everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Lots of kids come through the University of Washington and there are always the great teachers and the ones you dread getting. College can be a great experience where you make a ton of friends, but if you want to learn, that’s your job and nobody else’s. High school is the same. The teachers aren’t teaching to make school fun for you. They are there to lead the way, but they can’t hold 40 hands at once. If you need help, ask for it.