By: Griffin Anderson, Contributing Writer
The 2020-2021 school year has brought many changes to the Centralia R-VI School District, some of which have been personnel changes.
Elizabeth “Liz” Bostick and Nathan Watson are no strangers to the district, but they have taken on new roles for the school year.
Bostick is the new head softball coach at Centralia High School. She formerly worked as an assistant softball coach for nine years. Coach Bostick was on staff for all four state championships in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016. In addition, she coached softball at Chester Boren Middle School for one year. Bostick has coached all levels of softball, from little league to high-level competitive, and she has also coached basketball.
“My favorite thing about coaching is seeing a player reach her potential. Most coaches can see how far an athlete can go. Once you witness a player put in the work to get to her potential and succeed, it’s an amazing moment to witness. I also like to break down the skills of softball into smaller steps and work on the little things that make the sport so difficult to play,” said Coach Bostick.
With Bostick’s vast experience of coaching multiple age levels, she has advice for future high school players.
“Play as much as you can. Pick up a bat and a ball often. Good things come to those who PRACTICE!” said Bostick.
Bostick had taken the previous two years off from coaching within the school district.
When asked what her reaction was when she found out she was the new head coach, Bostick said, “I was shocked and honored that I was given the opportunity to work with amazing players and to represent our school and community.”
Coach Bostick has lived in Centralia her entire life. Her mother, Phonda Romine, taught in the school district for 30 years. Coach Bostick is married to Brian Bostick, and they have seven children: Madeline, who runs cross country at Truman State University; Gwendolyn, who plays softball at Rockhurst University; Jozelynn, who is a CHS sophomore; Dryst, who is a CBMS eighth-grade student; Ealynne, who is a CIS fifth-grade student; Brax, who is a CES first-grade student; and Quinnlyne, who is three years old. In her very rare free time, she enjoys spending time with family, gardening and quilting.
Bostick said her team has had a very tough schedule throughout this season. They beat a Class 5 Lee’s Summit team. They lost to Tolton, Blair Oaks and Grain Valley, who are all great teams this year. Bostick said their district will be a tough one this year, with Boonville, Mexico and Hallsville; however, she hopes to have an impact on her players, regardless of the outcome of the season.
“The most outstanding impact I hope to have on all of the players I coach is a genuine love for the sport. With that love comes self-confidence, determination and perseverance. I want them to walk away from the sport of softball and have many life skills such as work ethic, adaptability, resilience, teamwork, sacrifice and discipline. Those are the tools that will leave a lasting impact on my players,” said Bostick.
Watson is currently in his fourth year with the district. He spent his first three years as the 8th grade social studies teacher at Chester Boren Middle School. For this school year, he is now a history teacher at Centralia High School. He teaches Government and AP U.S. History. In addition, he is the 8th grade volleyball coach and the freshmen boys’ basketball coach.
When asked why he chooses to teach history, Watson said, “I really enjoy history and politics. This is an area that affects everyone, no matter what field they pursue in life. It’s really enjoyable to see students learn and grow in their beliefs and be able to defend their opinions.”
Not every educator enjoys working in a smaller school district, such as Centralia, but Watson has reasoning for continuing his career in Centralia.
“A small district like Centralia has many benefits. I enjoy knowing every kid in the school and being able to form connections with students in the classroom and in extracurricular activities,” said Mr. Watson.
When transitioning to a new building, there are changes that teachers have to make. Chester Boren Middle School has 50-minute class periods every day, but Centralia High School has 85-minute class blocks every other day. This has been an adjustment for Watson.
“I really enjoy the block scheduling, but it has taken some getting used to. I actually wish the classes were a little bit longer. It allows us to go in-depth on topics, and it makes the days a lot less stressful,” said Watson.
Watson, who grew up in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, attended college at the University of Arkansas. At Arkansas he received a bachelor of arts degree in history and a master of arts degree in teaching. He recently completed his specialist degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Mr. Watson, his wife Rachel and their dog Milly currently live in Columbia, where Rachel is a fourth-year medical school student.
In his free time, Watson enjoys watching sports, reading books, coaching, hiking and being outdoors and playing board games.