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Sachi Toepp, a sophomore point guard and co-captain for the Roycemore girls basketball team, plays similar roles in an off-the-court job as well.
A member of the Chicago Sinai Congregation since age four, Toepp is in her second year as a Madrich — or counselor — for the congregation’s Religious School. The paying job involves teaching and guiding kindergarten through third-grade students on Sundays. Toepp went through the program herself as a youngster, and became a Madrich after completing her confirmation class following eighth grade.
“I wanted to do it,” said Toepp, who was held scoreless in her team’s 49-14 loss to host North Shore Country Day on Jan. 26. “I really enjoy working with kids — they’re kind of fun to be around — and seeing how much they learn through the year. It’s nice to watch the kids grow and learn.”
Toepp said typical sessions include stories and discussions about the history of religion, working on crafts projects, and “making sure they’re under control.” Considering her familiarity with the program, as a pupil and Madrich, Toepp has a handle on what works and what doesn’t when guiding the students.
“I kind of understand what the kids like to do — you learn how they react to things, and try to help them out,” she said. “If you show them respect, they’ll show respect back.”
Aside from enjoying her work as a Madrich, Toepp said she believes the experience has helped her learn to be more responsible, and that it has provided, “a little preview of what it’s like to be in the working world.”
Added Roycemore coach Heather Loperena, who also coaches Toepp as Roycemore’s girls volleyball coach: “Any way in which you work with children, it teaches you patience — and skills like communication, keeping an audience, being prepared, making deadlines. That kind of stuff will be hugely beneficial down the road.”