Alliance’s Christian helps Falcons soar
Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Not many high schools have an athletic director only 25 years old, but Suffolk’s Elizabeth “Lizzy” Christian is already in her third year of holding the position at Alliance Christian Academy in Portsmouth.
Christian runs the school’s athletic program and is in the process of revamping it, inserting new coaches, looking to meet her goal of training athletes for the next level.
Another part of Christian’s position is mentoring, helping prepare athletes for life and instilling character.
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“That is the main thing that I love about this job,” she said.
Christian’s passion and will to do this kind of work was obvious from an early age. While some youths take a while to ease into ambitious endeavors with significant responsibilities, she took almost the opposite approach.
She was an intern at the age of 15, learning how to organize a sports program.
“I started running a sports program for a church at the age of 17, and I kind of took that over full time at the age of 18,” Christian said.
The program was at Nansemond River Baptist Church, and the niece and nephew of Alliance Christian school administrator Kimberly Johnson played in it.
After seeing Christian’s work, Johnson said, “We just saw great potential in her, and I just said, ‘Hey, here’s an application, if you’re interested. I’d love to interview you.’”
Though she had not considered leaving the Nansemond River Baptist job, she later consented to the interview, and both Christian and Johnson had strong, clear reactions when it happened.
A primary athletic facility for the Alliance Christian Academy Falcons is the Rev. Earl W. Freeland Gymnasium, and Christian said, “The first time I walked in that gym, I just knew this was where I was supposed to be.”
Johnson said, “I knew right away that she was what we were looking for because she’s got so much energy, and so much love for our students, and she’s so creative.”
Christian started college at 17, going to Tidewater Community College for the first year, and then attending Liberty University Online, balancing coursework with her full-time job at Nansemond River Baptist. She also has been a board member with Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads.
Her undergraduate degree is in counseling, a major she chose to help equip her for mentoring opportunities.
“(Johnson) knew that about me, that that was my heart’s desire — to help (youths) in their life and in their walk,” Christian said.
Because of her age and her gender, in a position dominated by men, Christian knew she had to prove herself as a good worker to her peers.
“They had to know that I was someone that was dependable and could get the job done,” she said.