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Petke: A Family Man

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Petke: A Family Man

The Petke family.

The Petke family.

Rebekah Sems

The Petke family.

Rebekah Sems

Rebekah Sems

The Petke family.

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As Westminster athletes sit cross-legged on the floor, ready for a talk about faith and how it relates to their sport, a small toddler squirms in between them, delighted by the attention. His smile lights up when he sees his dad walk into the room and he runs toward him. Dan Petke picks up his son and holds him still while the FCA talk begins. He and his wife, Michelle, are regular attendees to the weekly meetings and delight the athletes with bringing their lovable children.

Mr. Petke is a key figure of the Westminster community, and his family makes its appearance around the school in multiple ways. As the head baseball and softball coach at Westminster, Petke often brings his family to his practices and games. The softball girls, especially, enjoy the company of little Ty Petke and have grown close with the little toddler.

“Ty is so cute. We all love him, and it’s fun to see Petke with his kids,” said Carson Beachy, junior. Beachy is one of the many softball players who loves playing the sport for Coach Petke because of his interest in the athletes’ lives and his fun, lovable nature, as well as spending time around his family.

“Petke is a great coach because he relates to us. He makes practice fun and enjoyable but also takes the sport seriously and makes us work hard,” said Beachy.

Other students, who don’t play for Petke but know him through having him as their history teacher, also attest to the fact that he is a teacher who loves to get to know his students.
“Mr. Petke is one of my favorite teachers because he always takes time to ask us how we’re doing. He wants to know what is happening in our lives and he genuinely cares. He also tells great stories and is hilarious!” said Maggie Dolan, junior.
In fact, Petke is known for having interesting and often times funny stories from his life. Students are always surrounding him (and usually his family too) during FCA, football games, and other Westminster events.

One of his most interesting stories that surprised and shocked many students was when they learned that he and his family auditioned for Family Feud. After successfully making it through the first two rounds of auditions, the Petke family was asked what dates they’d be available for the show. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it to one of the dates due to a baseball tournament Petke was coaching and did not hear back from the show.
“I carried the team on my shoulders,” said Petke. However, many students blame Petke’s busy schedule as the reason for his missed shot at fame.
“It was a once and a lifetime chance, and he missed it because of baseball,” said Maggie Dolan, junior.
However, Petke’s love for baseball plays a major role in his family life. For example, his children are seen around the baseball and softball fields all the time. Petke continues to faithfully support the Westminster baseball team by going on their annual spring break trip to

Florida even with the challenges of raising young kids. Another way baseball has impacted the Petke family, is through a goal that Mr. Petke and his wife made for themselves. They decided they wanted to visit all thirty baseball stadiums in the United States before turning thirty. So far they have visited twenty-three of the thirty stadiums and have enjoyed watching games at different ballparks.
“It was Michelle’s idea, but I love doing it. She’s a great sport about it, and she enjoys going to the games just as much as me,” says Petke.

Baseball has made an important influence on Petke’s life. His love and support of the game of baseball has impacted many students, and they are encouraged by his hard work and determination to reach their goals.
“He has taught me and shown me what it means to work hard and reach the goals you set for yourself,” says Beachy. As one of Westminster’s most favorite history teachers and coaches, Dan Petke impacts the students and athletes he comes in contact with. His example that he sets of hard work while maintaining a positive attitude, is inspiring and encouraging to those around him. Westminster is lucky to have a member like Mr. Petke in the community and while many students still might not forgive him for missing an opportunity at Family Feud, they look up to him and love seeing him and his family around the campus.

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The School Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy
Petke: A Family Man