r Athletic leaders from secondary schools in Nebo School District gathered on September 11, 2018, for Captain’s Academy, a program implemented to increase communication and friendship among student-athletes and encourage sportsmanship and leadership.
Captain’s Academy was created by Everett Kelepolo, current Principal at Springville High School, in 2009. Since that time, student-athletes and school leaders have met three times annually to discuss how sportsmanship and leadership can be implemented in their given sport. Teachers and community members have seen unity and sportsmanship increase among student-athletes at athletic events since these meetings began.
The day started out with student-athletes and their coaches eating breakfast and discussing the importance of good nutrition. Daniel Burgess, a registered dietitian at LiVe Well Center in Provo, Utah, gave a presentation on “green-light”, “yellow-light”, and “red-light” foods. He taught that green-light foods are healthy foods that can be eaten every day like fruits, vegetables, protein, and small amounts of meat. Yellow-light foods are those that can be eaten every couple of weeks, and red-light foods are those that should only be eaten once a month, if ever! Student-athletes were reminded that to play at their highest athletic abilities, they needed to eat right!
Bart Peery, Principal at Salem Hills High School, spoke on the importance of sportsmanship. Sportsmanship, Mr. Peery said, is about being kind and respectful to others on and off the field.
After learning about true sportsmanship, Brynlie Ivie, a soccer player at Maple Mountain High School, commented, “In soccer, you always knock people down, so [sportsmanship] is helping them get back up.” Brynlie’s coach commented to her, “Remember, you have to do that every single time!”
Next, Everett Kelepolo spoke on the importance of leadership. He did this by talking about what leadership is not. Leadership is not based on talent or position. He said, “Leadership is developed over time. Every student is a leader.” Mr. Kelepolo encouraged the students to talk about what leadership means to them.
Logan Bennett, Student Body President at Payson High School, said, “A good leader is one who will go down and dig in the ditches with people; they lead by example and they’re not above anybody else. They are in there doing it with you.”
Hailey Cuff, a volleyball player at Salem Hill High School, said, “Leadership is a lot more than your position or your talent; it’s about the attributes you share with your teammates.”
By the end of Captain’s Academy, student-athletes were inspired and determined to make a difference through good sportsmanship and leadership.
Chris Poole, an eighth-grader at Springville Junior High School who runs cross country, said, “We are not…to think more about ourselves. Encourage not just our teams but all of the teams. Band together not just as an individual sport. Motivate everybody.”
Sydnie Smith, a tennis player from Springville Junior High School, learned that “when you are doing something hard, you just have to keep on trying.” She plans on teaching her team the importance of determination, being confident in themselves, and bringing back encouragement.
What began as an effort to get student-athletes to communicate with one another has turned into a positive conference where student-athlete leaders collaborate on what they can jointly implement among their teams to increase the sportsmanship in their schools.