After 41 years, Polly Perkins Lawrence has retired, leaving the field as Old Rochester Regional High School’s beloved Varsity Field Hockey coach, and her position as teacher’s assistant in the classroom.
The impact that Lawrence left on ORR graduate Lauren O’Brien is as strong as the impact she’s made on the scores of other girls who played field hockey these past four decades; one that is lasting, based on dedication and selflessness, which is why O’Brien and the rest of those who Lawrence has coached honored her during this year’s Field Hockey Banquet with an award in her name – the Lawrence Legacy Award – which Lawrence presented to the first ever recipient, Carly Drew.
O’Brien sums up Lawrence’s legacy in one poignant Winston Churchill quote: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
“She inspires others around her to find their passion, give their time, and find ways to integrate their interests/skills with the needs of others in mind,” said O’Brien. “I was honored to have Polly Perkins Lawrence at my first banquet as head coach and to honor her commitment and service with the implementation of the Lawrence Legacy Award.”
The award will recognize one student each year,” O’Brien told The Wanderer on November 26 during a phone interview. “A selfless student athlete who dedicates her time to service and to commitment to the community.”
Naming this award after Lawrence, O’Brien said, is appropriate, given that Lawrence herself spent years serving the Tri-Town as an educator, coach, and supporter of students and parents.
“I played for Polly from 2006-2009,” O’Brien said. “Polly is someone who’s very humble. She dedicated her entire life and she spent all of her time helping kids, whether it was on or off the field and in the classroom.”
Lawrence never measured her success by how many wins she coached, said O’Brien.
“It was more about the relationships she fostered along the way. The staff, the players, coaches, referees,” said O’Brien. “She built relationships with all of the people she met in the sport.”
Lawrence has coached alongside JV Field Hockey Coach Kate Souza for over 30 years, who remains as head JV Field Hockey Coach.
O’Brien, who was raised in Rochester and now resides in Fairhaven. She attended the Field Hockey Banquet that was held on November 13.
By Jean Perry