STM junior Trame gains from giving with FCA

STM junior Trame gains from giving with FCA

CHAMPAIGN — Port-wine stain birthmarks are witnessed, according to studies, on roughly 0.5 percent of every 1,000 newborns.

St. Thomas More junior Allie Trame falls into the affected category.

The mark shows on the right side of her lower lip, and below that on her neck.

It doesn't affect her daily life. She often doesn't discuss it with others.

Yet this reality gave Trame reason to be excited over the summer, when she was volunteering at an area Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.

Each high-school huddle leader is given a troop of younger kids to watch over and lead in activities during a weeklong session. Among Trame's bunch was a little girl bearing a similar birthmark on one cheek.

"I just became really close with her," Trame said. "I'd say that I gave her confidence, but she gave me so much confidence, just knowing that there are other people out there (with this mark)."

The News-Gazette's All-Area volleyball Player of the Year for the 2018 season counts this moment among her favorites in what's turned into a lengthy volunteering career.

When Trame isn't posting close to four kills per set, pushing the Sabers to third place in Class 2A with her intimidating, 6-foot-2 presence, or keeping her teammates upbeat with near-constant smiling, the Alabama volleyball commit finds herself trying to help others.

And it's not only because STM has a 150-hour volunteer requirement in order to graduate. Trame estimates she surpassed that figure last summer.

She's in the volunteerism game for much more.

"It's very rewarding," Trame said. "It is, in times, a lot of hard work, but in the end, volunteering are some of the best times of my life."

★ ★ ★

Looking at Trame's parents, it only makes sense she'd dedicate at least some of her time to bettering the situations of others.

Steve Trame is involved with the Fraternal Order of Police Illini Lodge 17. Angie Trame's parents always told her "if you have the opportunity to help people, that's the right thing to do."

On top of everything else, the Trames simply find volunteer work a fun endeavor.

Allie's first memorable experience came in sixth grade. She helped Steve and others in the fraternal order serve Christmas dinner at a retirement home.

"We'd always wear elf hats and dress up and be very Christmasy," Allie recalls.

Allie hasn't slowed down since in her aim to improve the lives of those around her. She's been readily invested in fraternal order and FCA matters, as well as STM volleyball camps and more.

Sabers coach Stan Bergman would be familiar with Allie even if she wasn't one of his standout athletes, as he's an FCA summer camps overseer.

"(She's) communicating with a child by giving that time and spending that time of showing them you're focused on them, and not letting them go through the motions," Bergman said. "Allie has that knack of really focusing on what they're talking about, of listening to them."

Then there was Allie's association with the St. Matthew Middle School volleyball program, which won a state championship last March — about four months after Allie and the STM girls did the same to end their 2017 campaign.

Trame spent one or two days per week alongside St. Matthew coach Kelly McClure, a former Illini and the mother of current Sabers freshman Anna McClure.

"For us, it was such a win-win because she just brings experience and enthusiasm to the gym," Kelly McClure said. "She connects with the players really well."

★ ★ ★

Volunteer work has its benefits for Allie in the volleyball realm.

The most apparent comes from her time with the 2017-18 St. Matthew squad. Two of its key members — Anna McClure and Caroline Kerr — quickly moved to varsity starter status as STM freshmen.

Already in place was a bond that sometimes struggles to appear between upperclassmen and newcomers.

"Over the summer, when we went and got ice cream as a team, it was nice because I was able to reach out to them," Allie said, "and it wasn't just a stranger reaching out to them."

Bergman described that relationship as "a huge deal" and "very important." Kelly McClure, from her seat as a Sabers assistant and mother, also saw the impact.

"There was just an ease and a trust and connection they shared," McClure said. "That was incredibly beneficial."

At the FCA summer camps, Allie teaches volleyball to attendees as well.

"She's brought that around to a skill that she has," Steve said. "She can pass that on or show them."

"She uses her talent to help other people," Angie added. "She sees where she was then and where she is now. She's blessed to have that talent to help others and set a good example."

What may surprise some is Allie feels she gains equally from this venture.

"It also makes you a lot more patient just because, when you are teaching little third-graders volleyball, they are not going to know the things that you know," Allie said. "That also makes you a lot more grateful for your abilities."

Those youngsters at FCA summer camps boost Allie in ways they couldn't imagine. They actually have a stake in STM's recent volleyball success.

The easiest way to see it isn't through Allie's statistics or on-court trajectory. It's through the grin creased across her lips, one colored by that unique birthmark.

"(Volunteering) just affects your whole life, really," Allie said. "Just being a more grateful person, a happier person. That helps me in volleyball to brush things off. It just helps me gain a lot of confidence and a lot of happiness."

Honor roll: News-Gazette volleyball Players of the Year


2018 Allie Trame St. Thomas More

2017 Mica Allison St. Thomas More

2016 Kylie Michael St. Joseph-Ogden

2015 Kylie Michael St. Joseph-Ogden

2014 Lexi Wallen St. Thomas More

2013 Lizzy Barnard Unity

2012 Lauren Cloyd Centennial

2011 Mariah Coleman Heritage

2010 Morgan Leach Centennial

2009 Cori Harris Centennial

2008 Alexis Braghini Centennial

2007 Lucy Coleman Monticello

2006 Ali Omahen Schlarman

2005 Kylie McCulley Clinton

2004 Kylie McCulley Clinton

2003 Amber McKean CPCI

2002 Melissa David Champaign Central

2001 Carly Hill Monticello

2000 Carly Hill Monticello

1999 Julie Leman Champaign Central

1998 Jenn Rousey Champaign Central

1997 Kate Hill Monticello

1996 Heather Wilson Rantoul

1995 Amanda Ennis Champaign Central

1994 Sigele Overstreet Champaign Central

1993 Lori Greenwood Champaign Central

1992 Missy Erixon Tuscola

1991 Missy Erixon Tuscola

1990 Melanie Ward Prairie Central

1989 Jane Prasse Hoopeston-East Lynn

1988 Mindy Thompson Shiloh

1987 Jill Doty Hoopeston-East Lynn