NEWPORT BEACH — With tennis racket in hand and the third- through sixth-grade watching, Mariners Elementary School Principal Pamela Coughlin walked onto the tennis court in a flower-print dress and matching lavender espadrilles.
Playing alongside third-grade teacher Pat McLaughlin, the two attempted to return volleys hit to them by two sons of USC's head coach of the three-time national champion tennis team.
"Oh, we have the principal out. Now we're getting competitive — I like it," said USC tennis coach Peter Smith. "Are those tennis shoes you're wearing, principal?"
On Friday, Mariners hosted the Inch & Miles Sportsmanship Tennis Festival, a collaboration between Harper for Kids and USC. The program aims to teach students how to be their personal best.
Kids are under a lot of pressure to achieve the best grades and get into the top schools, but the important thing is that they do their best work and the result will take care of itself, said Tim Harper, co-founder of Harper for Kids with his wife, Peanut.