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Alumni Spotlight: Christian Manna '17

Posted May 16, 2022 in Articles

Alumni Spotlight: Christian Manna '17
Alumni Spotlight: Christian Manna '17
Alumni Spotlight: Christian Manna '17
Alumni Spotlight: Christian Manna '17
Alumni Spotlight: Christian Manna '17
Alumni Spotlight: Christian Manna '17

Lawrence School ’17
B.S. Muskingum University ’21

Since graduating from Lawrence, what have you been up to?

After high school, I majored in health and physical education with a sports coaching minor at Muskingum University, where I also played Division III basketball. Sports have always been a huge part of my life and I’ve always loved working with kids. So, when it came time to focus on a career, I combined these passions. This past fall, I started as a P.E. teacher at an elementary school in Euclid and I really enjoy it! Sharing my love of athletics with a new generation is gratifying. I’m also still heavily involved at Lawrence—I was the girl’s basketball coach last season and, this year, I’ll be the head coach of the boy’s basketball team.

What is your favorite memory of Lawrence?

Being part of the varsity basketball team my senior year, hands down. We won the most games in school history, broke all sorts of records, and I’m still friends with a ton of guys from the team. It’s cool to see our banner hanging in the gym even now.

So, last summer when I was asked if I’d be interested in coaching the Lady Lions, I immediately said yes!

After I stopped playing basketball at Muskingum, I worked as a student coach, so I had some coaching experience. However, being in charge was an entirely new experience. Making a practice plan, coming up with plays, and all those game-time decisions were a lot of responsibility. But this was a great team. For a lot of the girls, it was their first time playing basketball and they were so enthusiastic. That made my job easier.

How did Lawrence prepare you for college and your career?

Organization hasn’t always been easy. I was that kid who had papers stuffed in every pocket of his backpack and couldn’t find anything. Getting everything into a folder, knowing what goes where, and putting things back made it easier for me to stay on top of everything. As a gym teacher, I do something similar with all my equipment so I can keep track of it.

What about teaching appealed to you?

Watching students grow and try something new puts a smile on my face every day. Plus, knowing I’m making an impact is amazing.

This year, I’ve worked with my students on building healthy habits. We’ve talked about how physical activity can be a good outlet, especially when dealing with stress. As a first-year teacher, I try to find different ways to relate to my classes and figure out what works best. It’s been fun to experiment and see what resonates.

Did any of your teachers at Lawrence impact the way you teach?

It wasn’t one teacher so much as the approach the entire faculty took. Lawrence teachers really go out of their way to help their students on an individual basis. I try my best to do that. Making sure everyone feels comfortable and confident is important to me.

What was your favorite class at Lawrence?

I was always excited to get into the gym, but I enjoyed all my classes and I wanted to be challenged when I was in the classroom. Some of the classes were difficult—physics, especially—but I felt good knowing I was working hard. English and history were both interesting, and I still talk about the World War I reenactment we did as freshmen.

What piece of advice would you share with Lawrence students?

Everybody needs help, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Advocating for yourself, making sure you and those around you get the help they need, that’s the best way to succeed.

How do you spend your free time?

What free time? No, I’m joking. I’m definitely busy, especially during basketball season, but my Lawrence friends and I do our best to get together as much as possible. I also love to travel. I went to Myrtle Beach and Ocean City, Maryland last year, and this summer I’m going on a solo trip to Ireland. I’m a little nervous, but I can’t wait to get on that plane.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Being part of a team, helping athletes find their next gear, is my favorite thing to do. So having the chance to continue coaching would be phenomenal. Obviously, I love being a teacher, too, and I want to do that as long as I can. For me, the biggest thing is helping. Whether it’s students or future hoops stars, I want to help them thrive.

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