In partnership with the Matt Wyble Team of Century 21 New Millennium, the Severna Park Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month series seeks to recognize the many student-athletes in our area who make an impact not necessarily by way of statistics or stardom, but by their unique contributions. The quiet leader, the solid role player, the glue guy or gal, the community voice on or off the field — those are the kids we seek to recognize.
Indian Creek senior Reese Fortier has many markers of personal success — outstanding student, senior class president, captain of the Eagles’ volleyball team and yearbook editor, just to name a few — but it is her impact on others at Indian Creek that separates her as an influential member of her school community.
“She’s a highly motivated, very focused and goal-oriented young lady who is also very good at organizing and getting people to move toward a goal,” said Indian Creek Upper School math teacher Todd Kerr of Fortier. “It’s very plain and obvious the girls look to her for leadership.”
Indian Creek social studies teacher and yearbook advisor Tonya Montgomery agrees.
“Reese is a leader in the classroom,” said Montgomery. “She works really, really hard. She’s also a thought leader in classes. She’s someone who thinks really deeply about the work she does and comes in with ideas to share, and she’s confident in her ability to put those thoughts out there and make them understandable to her classmates.”
One example of Fortier’s confidence in bringing her goals to fruition came when saw the movie “Angst,” a film that explores modern anxiety, and launched an effort to bring the film to campus for separate screenings in front of the student body and the parents. Fortier met with teachers, administrators and the parent-teacher organization to pitch the value of the movie as something that would destigmatize mental health issues and empower the school community to be open in seeking the resources they need.
“As soon as I saw the movie I thought it was something everyone should see,” Fortier said. “I’m pretty open about this, but as someone who has struggled with anxiety and not really knowing so much where that came from, after watching the movie I saw so many connections from when I was younger. I thought that if more people saw it, then more people would be able to get those resources sooner and when they need them. Mental health is something I’ve always felt strongly about and am passionate about bringing awareness to.”
It was a recent instance in which Fortier sought to bring those around her closer together, something she has excelled at more and more since first coming to Indian Creek for her sophomore year. Fortier played a range of Green Hornets sports while growing up and attending Folger McKinsey Elementary School and Severna Park Middle School before zeroing in volleyball as her favorite during middle school.
“I figured out fast I wasn’t a musician,” Fortier said. “Volleyball was the sport I really loved.”
Her move to Indian Creek as a sophomore coincided with the school’s creation of a volleyball program in 2017. The Eagles won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference championship in their first season in 2018 and have continued to excel since, with Fortier serving as captain this season.
No one expected the Eagles to do well that first season, but Fortier said the program’s success is a result of everyone committing to helping each other. “We really had to lean on each other that first season,” said Fortier. “We were new to the conference and everyone expected us to lose. I think it just came down to coming together as a team.”
Fortier looks forward to college and the possibility of studying neuroscience, psychology or philosophy. She said the small-school setting at Indian Creek has afforded her the opportunity to take initiative in a variety of endeavors, like volleyball. The experience has given her perspective on how important it is to build strong bonds with the people around you.
“Volleyball is completely reliant on teamwork,” said Fortier. “You’re all on the same side of the court, you’re all relying on each other. If you can’t get the pass, you can’t get the set, you can’t get the hit. So it’s very interconnected. I feel like that has helped me a lot as far as connecting with people off the court and learning to lean on people for help. I’ve always been a very independent person who does my own thing and didn’t want help with things. So I think having that necessity on the volleyball court of having others support you has helped me learn to lean on others to support me and to support others when they need it. You can’t play the game all by yourself. I couldn’t be one-on-life. I have to have a team with me. These past few years, my self-growth has been about building that team around me, and it’s helped me become successful.”Click here to read the original feature in the Severna Park Voice.