The definition of a ‘role model’ is a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated. There are role models everywhere you look. For example, some look at their pastor, manager, or athletes as role models.

Let us introduce you to Ella Collum. Ella is a Junior at Cullman High School. She excels in the academic world while also being a star athlete on the Lady Bearcats Varsity Basketball Team. Yea, Yea, that’s great and wonderful; there are many kids that have excellent grades and play sports. She goes to practice nearly every day of the week for hours, constantly putting her sweat and tears into making the Lady Bearcats the best they can be. She’s a leader on and off the court. Since Ella started playing team basketball, she has always put 110% into the game. She simply has a love for basketball and her teammates.

What sets Ella apart from many others is that after a long day of school, basketball practices, and games, she heads over to the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center, removes her player jersey, and puts on her coaching shirt. You see, Ella may be a star player for the Lady Cats, but she wanted to use her knowledge of the game to help her 5/6-year-old team get better and teach them to love the game as she has done for years. As a result, the kids look up to her as if she’s a superhero. When she steps into the Aquatic Center to start practice, she often wears the same gear she wore during her Varsity practice. The kids are mesmerized when they see her wearing her practice jersey. She goes through the motions of coaching the kids, teaches them every aspect of the game that you can teach a 5/6-year-old, has them prepared to play their game on Saturday, and then starts the week over again.

One of Ella’s AAU Coaches said, “From the time I met Ella when she walked into the gym, you could see the determination of her face. She had not played a lot of highly competitive basketball, but there was never a doubt she would be a starter for our team quickly. If the other girls were down or having a bad game, she would lift them up, she worked tremendously hard to be the best on the court, and that work ethic spilled over off the court. She was at practice and games early, watching others play and studying their skills to improve herself as a player. We had a very competitive team and won many games, but it would have been challenging to have that success without Ella. She was a joy to coach and now a joy to watch as she is helping lead the Lady Bearcats to a great season.”

You see, there are role models that come at different times of your life. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are; you can be a role model in someone’s life. For Ella Collum, she is the shining star in a few little 5/6-year-olds lives, and they will undoubtedly remember her leadership for years to come.