Profiles in Wellness
Asia Ng '20: Building Strength in All Areas of Life
Favorite subjects: Art and Math
Favorite book: "Interaction of Color," by Josef Albers, "...because I really like color theory and the fact that color isn't an inherent property of anything. It's always subject to change."
Favorite pastime: Playing with her dog, Cali.
Childhood memory: Surprising her parents by drawing a penguin with just one pen stroke.
Highlight at GFS: Being part of a winning team in the distance/speed vehicle event of the GFS Physics Olympics.
Goal this spring: Run a sub-65-second 400 meters in track.
Asia came to Germantown Friends School in Middle School from Masterman School. She has quickly made her mark as a determined, inquisitive, and independent thinker who likes a good challenge. She has made healthy living a priority and learned a thing or two over the past couple of years about its benefits in her day-to-day.
"I've never been a person that loves sports, but I have developed a relationship with wellness recently that is making a big difference in all areas of my life," says Ng. "I used to come home tired and mess around for a couple of hours. Then, all of the sudden it would be 8 p.m., and I'd still have hours of homework to do."
These days, Ng heads to the gym after school and puts in 30-60 minutes before going home. She typically finishes dinner by 7 p.m., then gets to work on her homework. She's able to get to bed shortly after 10 p.m. and feels like she's getting the rest she needs to be present and energetic during the school day.
"My favorite exercise is something called the slam ball," Asia says of her favorite new piece of equipment in the weight room (pictured in the background of the photo above), a ball designed for swinging and throwing exercises. "The beauty is that if you have a bad day, you can put it into your workout and get better results."
In addition to serving as a valuable resource to Asia as she has developed and refined her fitness regimen, GFS's new Strength and Conditioning Coach, Matt Sheehan, has made a lasting impression on her. She says he probably doesn't even remember, but one day he was passing by as she was easily lifting a lot of weight and said simply, "You are really strong. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently."
Asia says she has taken this message to heart. And, from what we can tell, she is passing it along to those around her every day.
Pietro Berghella '18, Four-Year Varsity Athlete, Soccer and Basketball
Favorite teachers: Devra Ramsey (Calculus) and Meg Goldner Rabinowitz (English)
Favorite sports memory: Unexpectedly playing two scary but exhilarating minutes in the FSL Championship basketball game against Westtown...as a 9th grader.
Favorite sports team: Philadelphia 76ers
Favorite movie: Disney's Up. "It makes me cry every time."
Favorite childhood memory: Watching Inter of Milan, his family's favorite soccer team, defeat Bayern Munich to win the UEFA Champions League Final in 2010.
Pietro came to GFS from The Philadelphia School in 9th grade, following in the footsteps of his older brother Andrea. At 6'8", he is currently the tallest person on our campus. He is also among the kindest (which is saying something!). He co-captained both the soccer and basketball teams this year, quietly working with his teammates to complete successful seasons in both.
Pietro is also a workhorse. He has suffered multiple injuries during his high school career, including breaking his wrist during the first basketball game of his freshman year. He has always resisted missing out on practices in favor of recovery. "I don't like taking days off, wellness days. If I have to, I'll take them, but I've always felt that you give it everything you have."
Fortunately, he's had a dedicated and intentional team of GFS coaches and trainers to guide and support him through his recovery, including trainer Allen Van. "This year, I've dealt with a bunch of nagging injuries, particularly to my knees and hips," he says. "Allen's been great about understanding my injuries and showing me that building up muscle groups is a priority if I want to stop hurting."
The basketball season is over, and Pietro is approaching the end of his time at GFS. He has learned the value in preparation – both on and off the court. He plans to spend his last spring on campus working with the training and fitness center staff to make sure he is ready for what promises to be an intense next year as a member of the Haverford College basketball team. "I'm excited for college," says Pietro. "I'm also pretty excited to enjoy the rest of high school."
Matt Sheehan, Our New Strength and Conditioning Coach
Interests: Fitness (physical and psychological)
Most recent book read: Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett
Home on campus: Smith Gym (lower level, a.k.a. basement)
Favorite exercise: Incline walks, treadmill
Favorite memory: Accompanying his team to the NCAA Sweet 16
What he's up to at GFS: Teaching ninth-grade PE, supporting team fitness and injury prevention, developing personal training plans, and fist bumping the many students on campus who count themselves among his fan club
Matt Sheehan joined GFS in August 2017. He is an enthusiastic part of the Athletic Department's full-court press on well-being for all GFS students, and he couldn't be better suited for his role. In addition to his background as an athlete, he holds a master's in education. And he knows first-hand how important fitness is to injury prevention and emotional well-being.
Recruited to play football at La Salle University, he suffered a career-ending injury during his first year. After a multi-year recovery process, he successfully walked onto the Varsity Basketball team during his senior year. "The number one most important thing to well-being is sleep," says Sheehan. "But fitness is critical to feeling good. It can be a huge help in clearing your mind."
Today, Matt can be found in Smith Gym, ready to put together a customized training plan for whomever walks through the door, provide counsel for successful injury recovery, or organize a good game of gaga ball for small groups who happen by.
"I am so excited to be here and feel so supported already," says Sheehan. "My goal is to squash stereotypes of who belongs in here. I want to teach kids how to take care of their bodies and minds."
Matt has already noticed a surge in the number of students, faculty, and staff who use the Fitness Center. With new equipment and some basic upgrades to the space, he plans to make it an even more welcoming and comprehensive resource for all.