Justin Ratanataya, Class of 2020, who attended StoneBridge from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, was a familiar face among our athletes and for good reason. He helped out with virtually every sport StoneBridge offers, from soccer to basketball to volleyball and more throughout his high school term. While StoneBridge is known for its rigorous academic program, it is equally known for its ability to develop and hone students’ leadership skills.
It was in this area that Ratanataya excelled. He also served as an inspiration to his classmates, as he persevered through the challenges of cerebral palsy.
“Justin is the embodiment of a servant leader! I had the pleasure of working with Justin for three years, during which time he wore many hats as the athletic prefect for StoneBridge School,” Ethan Walker, former SBS Athletic Director, said. “Often times I would refer to him as the real Athletic Director at SBS, because he meant so much to me personally and to our athletic programs as a whole. His passion for athletics is unparalleled. No task too small or role too large for him to handle.”
“Often opposing coaches and visiting officials would comment on what a special student he was, ending with ‘you guys are going to really miss him.’ They were right, there will never be another Justin on the SBS campus,” Walker continued. “I look forward to watching his story unfold, and hold dear to my heart the season of life we spent together. He no doubt had a bigger impact on me, than I had on him.”
After graduating from StoneBridge, Ratanataya moved on to Longwood University, where he immediately immersed himself in the school’s athletics department, becoming the Student Assistant Coach for Women’s Basketball. The team made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2022 and made school history with a first-round win over Mount St. Mary’s, eventually losing to No. 1 seed NC State.
“It was surreal,” Ratanataya, currently a sophomore at Longwood, said. “I feel like it helped put Longwood on the map and I got to be part of making history.”
Ratanataya credits his StoneBridge years for being a stepping stone to his college career in coaching. Through experiences such as senior thesis, StoneBridge helped him learn how to communicate with others, how to be organized, and how to do research.
“It taught me how to serve others and be a light to others just by helping them,” he said.
His goal is to become a college basketball coach and he is already making friends and connections in the coaching world.
“My advice to current SBS students is to learn as much as possible and get involved. It is important that you network for the next chapter in your life,” he said.
Ratanataya is from Suffolk and attends Liberty Live Church in Harbourview.