“I can change the world
With my own two hands…
I’m gonna make it a brighter place
I’m gonna make it a safer place
I’m gonna help the human race
With my own
With my own two hands.”
- Ben Harper
When Katie Rechnitzer ’10 was asked what she is most proud of, the easy answers might have been leading the WildCats this season with 14.3 points per game, or being one of only 19 players to garner 2008 all-conference honors in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), or perhaps tallying over 648 points during her first two seasons playing collegiate basketball.
Instead, Rechnitzer had to stop and think for awhile. The reserved and extremely modest sophomore from Burke, Virginia, eventually answered that she is most proud of the success of the Locks of Love project, an event that she spearheaded in conjunction with “Think Pink” day at Randolph. “Think Pink” is the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s February push to raise breast cancer awareness.
“My mom is a lactation consultant,” says Rechnitzer. “Therefore, I have always been aware of the facts about breast cancer and how deadly it can be.”
Not surprisingly, Katie takes no credit for coming up with the idea for the Locks of Love project, but she is proud of the fact that the event resulted in 22 ponytails donated to the non-profit organization. Locks of Love provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
“Most of us take hair for granted when you think about it,” says Rechnitzer. “Hair can be a very big deal for a child. When you’re young, no hair can mean no self esteem. If I can do something to help a child, particularly when all I have to do is cut my own hair, I’m certainly going to do it.”
Taking part in community service projects is a long-standing tradition for R-MWC student-athletes. It is a tradition to be continued at Randolph. Each year, before they set foot on the field or court, student-athletes spend time giving back to the campus or local community, and Katie is not the first member of the Rechnitzer family to honor Randolph’s student-athlete traditions. Katie’s older sister, Sara Rechnitzer ’07, was the recipient of The Coaches’ Award, given to a student-athlete who demonstrates commitment, enthusiasm, dependability, sportsmanship, and teamwork.
Katie cites Sara as her role model, and the two sisters not only shared the College’s basketball court for one year, they also share the same sense of commitment and dedication—and according to Katie, the same sense of humor.
“I think most people are afraid to go to a school where their older sibling has created such a great image for themselves, afraid that they could be caught in the shadow of their older sibling for their whole career. And in some ways, I was in Sara’s shadow and still am, but I think it’s a very good shadow to be in.
“I would just like to make an impact on people here at school like my sister was able to do, to make a difference in some way. I think Sara has done that, even if she doesn’t believe me when I tell her that,” says Katie.
It is clear that Katie is already making a difference in the lives of others. Thanks to her hard work, Locks of Love is going to be an annual event at Randolph and in all likelihood will not be the last volunteer event she plans and organizes.
After graduation, Rechnitzer, a sociology major, would like to pursue a career in non-profit work aimed at helping children. Wherever Katie ends up, she is sure to make it a better place through her hard work and dedication.
When asked if she could pick five people to spend an evening with, who they would be, Katie listed her favorite musician, Ben Harper. It might be no coincidence that among Harper’s biggest hits is “My Own Two Hands,” a song about—you guessed it—changing the world.