Last week, the NCHSAA visited Charlotte Catholic High School and attended a Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) meeting. Hosted by Natalie Dominguez, a member of the statewide NCHSAA SAAC program, this quick 35-minute gathering was a shining example of the dedication and passion that student-athletes bring to their respective sports and communities. Charlotte Catholic has around 30-35 members on their SAAC team that represent all of their varsity athletic programs.
The SAAC meeting covered a variety of crucial topics that the Charlotte Catholic athletic teams plan to put in place for their upcoming Winter and Spring Sport Seasons. These topics centered around a vision that holds importance for not only Charlotte Catholic High School but for all NCHSAA Member Schools.
- Open Conversations and Mental Health: The SAAC members discussed the significance of open, candid conversations within their teams with teammates and coaches. They emphasized the importance of discussing goals and, notably, focusing on mental health throughout the season.
- Leading with Character: The SAAC members encouraged student-athletes to lead with character both during and outside of athletic competition. They stressed the idea that it’s not just about winning on the field but about fostering an environment where everyone’s best interests are at heart. Demonstrating sportsmanship, respect, and integrity are at the core of this vision.
- Team Culture: Team culture is the heart of any successful sports program, and the SAAC at Charlotte Catholic strongly stressed this. They emphasize the need for alignment between coaches and teammates when it comes to goals and priorities. This alignment not only promotes success but also ensures the well-being of everyone involved. They also discussed the importance of parents not interfering with competition, reminding us that high school athletics are about the students and their growth.
One of the most inspiring aspects of the SAAC meeting at Charlotte Catholic High School was their commitment to treating all umpires, referees, and judges with the utmost respect. This level of sportsmanship is a crucial aspect of setting the standard in high school athletics when it comes interactions with officials.
The message conveyed by the Charlotte Catholic SAAC members was clear: it’s time to set the standard in education-based athletics. While their passion for sports was evident, their commitment to the well-being and personal development of all involved was commendable. The values they discussed are not only applicable in athletics but can serve as a guide for Life Beyond Sports.
As we reflect on this visit, it’s clear that Charlotte Catholic High School’s SAAC is set to make a significant impact on their student-athletes, student body and coaches. The Association would encourage Member Schools to create a Student-Athlete Advisory Council at the local level. Start setting an example for student-athletes across the nation. Dedication to creating a culture of respect, inclusivity, and well-being is a testament to the potential for a positive change in education-based athletics. It was heartening to see young leaders paving the way for a brighter future in the world of sports.
If your school has any interest in creating a Student Athlete Advisory Council, please feel free to contact Evan Sauer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nolan Gilliam (email@example.com). Lastly, NFHS Learn has an outstanding resource available called Student Leadership: Becoming a Leader which is free for all student-athletes in the state of North Carolina.