Making Strayer Stronger

Student, teacher honored with new award
Posted on 07/29/2019
Mya Hibsman and lacrosse coach Bruce Russell stand in front of a closet with lacrosse uniforms.

By Gary Weckselblatt

It was September 2017, and Mya Hibsman was one of more than 400 new seventh graders at Strayer Middle School. During an assembly, former Principal Derek Peiffer challenged the students “How will you make your mark at Strayer?”

Not long after, during a family dinner, Mya stated her legacy: “Mom, I want to start a lacrosse program at Strayer, wouldn’t that be awesome?”

With the help of Bruce Russell, a supportive teacher and former lacrosse coach, and a lot of hard work from several others, Mya’s goal became a reality.

The school had 36 girls play the first year, 43 this past season, and combined for a 14-3 record over the two years.

Principal Dr. Jennifer Bubser recounted Mya’s passion to start the program, aided by a commitment from Mr. Russell to coach, and honored student and teacher at the June 11 Awards Assembly with the first “Making Strayer Stronger” award.

Dr. Bubser was inspired to begin the new tradition after reading an email from Mya’s mom that detailed her daughter’s leadership. 

“This young lady and one of our Strayer teachers showed a perfect example of making Strayer Stronger,” Dr. Bubser said.

“Mya is the brainchild behind it,” said Mr. Russell, a reading and math teacher. “She started the wheels in motion.”

“It’s my favorite sport,” Mya said. “I thought it would really be fun if I could start it.”


Mr. Russell has four children who have played lacrosse, and had coached boys teams for several years, so he was a natural. “When you’ve coached as long as I have and then stop, you definitely miss it,” he said.

Mya got several students involved, organized fundraisers, and a Students Activities Fund was started. The rest is Strayer history.


“My mom wasn’t sure it was going to happen,” Mya said. “Oh my gosh, she was so happy.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].

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