In mid-October, Kyle Stinson was honored to receive an invitation from the NCHSAA to represent Section 3 of the NFHS and become a member of the newly established National Student Advisory Council (NSAC). The significance of this opportunity was not lost on Kyle, who had already transitioned from representing his school and county to a regional level on the NCHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). Now, he was set to represent not just a state but eight states on the national stage.

The anticipation for Kyle reached new heights upon learning about the first in-person meeting scheduled for mid-January. The NSAC comprises two section representatives from each of the eight sections, and all representatives, including Kyle, are Juniors actively involved in either high school education-based athletics or high school activities such as the arts or student council. Joining Kyle as the other Section 3 representative is Olivia Elder from Georgia, a passionate and supportive advocate.

Expressing his excitement, Kyle shared, “I am fortunate to have an extraordinary person to work with throughout our time on the council! We are both super excited to represent the terrific states within Section 3! We both share a passion for inclusion, representation, and communication within our section. We believe these three aspects will make processes run smoothly, and the information to best be shared with other state associations. Also, these aspects will allow Olivia and I to better understand the needs of high school students, all across Section 3!”

Kyle’s time in Indianapolis for the inaugural meeting was characterized by enthusiasm, memorable moments, and dedicated work. Despite the long days, the experience has been immensely rewarding, with discussions, connections, and perspectives shaping the beginning of a promising journey. Ms. Sheila Riffle, Founder of Dynamic 126, serves as the consultant, providing valuable support and focusing on leadership development.

During one of the meetings, facilitated by Passion-to-Purpose founder Omari Pearson, the council delved into discussions about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats surrounding high school activities and education-based athletics. Kyle recounted, “We had the privilege of leading a discussion with the NFHS Student Services Committee in the presence of Dr. Karissa Niehoff, the CEO of the NFHS. It is evident that the NFHS has demonstrated a commitment to placing students at the forefront of its mission, and we are thankful that the committee listened, asked questions, and engaged in the discussion to better understand how the NFHS can take our perspectives and suggestions, and propose solutions/opportunities to the NFHS board and staff!”

With the first meeting completed (while recognizing that future Zoom meetings are still on the agenda), Kyle looks ahead to the NSAC’s next steps. He emphasizes, “We want to tackle the question ‘How can the NSAC and the NFHS work to reach more schools and students to ensure communication is widely shared?’ We learned about a lot of resources that the NFHS has (like toolkits and NFHS Learn), and resources that states have individually, but not a lot of students know about these resources. Olivia and I will always advocate for the needs of all students participating in activities and education-based athletics.”

Acknowledging the collaborative effort that made the NSAC a reality, Kyle expressed gratitude to the Seaforth High School Community, Athletic Director Jason Amy, the NCHSAA, including Commissioner Que Tucker and Director of Marketing, Development, and Student Programs Evan Sauer, the NFHS staff, including Mr. Elliot Hopkins and Ms. Kelly Russell, Consultant Sheila Riffle, the NFHS Student Services Committee, all 51 member associations, over 13 million high school students, and especially the other 15 representatives on the NSAC. He emphasized the importance of an open mindset, quoting John C. Maxwell: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”