Caden Short attends Phoenix Country Day School (PCDS) and is heavily involved in the National Stuttering Foundation. He was the keynote speaker at their national conference this summer, where he advocated for students with this additional challenge. On campus Caden is a solid student with particular strengths in math, science, and quantitative fields. He is a leader among students, and also spends a lot of his time away from PCDS coaching a youth football team in Mesa. Caden is, in short, a fantastic young man!
Q. How did you become involved in the Teen Advisory Council (TAC) of National Stuttering Association?
A. I have been attending the annual conferences for seven years. When I was younger I viewed the members of the TAC as role models and when I was old enough I applied to be a member of the TAC and was accepted. After being on the council for a year, I was asked to be the chairman and accepted. As the chairman of the TAC I am in charge of the teen workshops at the annual conferences and I organize outreach efforts in the other TAC members’ communities. I also speak at the annual conferences and represent the Teens of the NSA. I love being a part of the leadership of the NSA because it keeps me engaged with the stuttering community year round. I also think that I am a good role model for kids and teens who stutter because I am a leader within the NSA and in my own community.
Q. What do you like about coaching?
A. I coach football for the Spartans Pee-Wee team in Mesa, this team is coached by the coaches of the Toros Football Academy, the team I played for when I was in middle school. I coach with the same coaches that coached me when I was playing. I enjoy teaching the kids that I coach about football. Football is a huge part of my life, and since I no longer play, coaching is the main way I am able to engage with the sport. Because I played so recently I am able to share my experiences with the kids that I coach and teach them the lessons that I learned playing the game. I would say that the most important lesson I have learned playing football comes from a quote that my quarterback coach said: “how a man does some things, he does all things.” I interpret this quote as meaning how I do the seemingly menial tasks in my life, I will do everything else in the same way, this encourages me to pursue excellence in everything I do. This lesson is something that I keep in mind everyday. I also enjoy the grind of football, every week I watch the scout film on the team we are playing next and figure out what I as a coach need to do to win. Every week, no matter the outcome of the previous game, that same grind starts over again and that’s why I love football.
Q. What’s your favorite football team?
A. My favorite NFL team is the New England Patriots. When my dad was starting to learn how to coach he read a lot of books about Bill Belichick and how he approaches coaching football. After my dad became a Bill Belichick fan and started watching Patriot games I began to like the team as well. As a quarterback myself, I love watching Tom Brady play and I appreciate how precise he is when playing the game.
Q. What are your academic goals?
A. My academic goals have always been to work the hardest I can and the grades will follow. I have never been hung up on getting all A’s and I don’t panic if a grade on a test is less than I was expecting. For me, a low grade means I need to work harder and improve it as the year goes on.
Q. Do you have a direction for career goals?
A. Although I do not have a specific career in focus as of now, I know that I want to study economics, finance, statistics, or a combination of the three in college.
Q. What will you miss most about PCDS?
A. After I leave PCDS I am going to miss the community. It is rare to know everybody’s name in an entire high school; PCDS is one of the only schools where that is possible. I also value the relationship between students and teachers at PCDS, everybody is comfortable to ask teachers questions. Oftentimes the teachers reach out to the students and work with them to help better understand the topics.
Caden Short is a senior at Phoenix Country Day School.