On February 2nd, 2024, at Elevation Church – Lake Norman in Charlotte, NC, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) hosted a transformative event, the 2024 CMS & NCHSAA Student Leadership Summit. The theme, “How to Start a Student-Athlete Advisory Council,” brought together a dynamic group of student-athletes eager to explore the realm of leadership and collaboration. Over 200 student-athletes from 30+ NCHSAA Member schools joined in hopes to bring back Student-Athlete Advisory Council’s to their local schools!!

The summit began with a warm welcome from Omari Pearson (Passion to Purpose), setting the stage for a day of empowerment and equipping student-athlete leaders with the tools to initiate a Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) in their respective high schools. The importance of finding your passion and purpose, emphasizing key benefits such as student voice and representation, leadership development, sportsmanship promotion, mental health advocacy, and the building of school spirit.

Following Omari’s opening keynote session, members of the CMS and NCHSAA SAAC came together to lead insightful breakout sessions. These sessions covered a diverse range of topics essential for student-athlete leadership development. From effective communication strategies to fundraising tactics in “Bring Me the Money,” and from cultivating a winning athlete mindset to fostering team building and culture, each session provided valuable insights and practical tools. Furthermore, participants gained essential skills in managing their time effectively as student-athletes. These collaborative efforts exemplified the spirit of unity and mentorship within the student-athlete community, further enriching the summit experience.

One highlight of the summit was undoubtedly the inspiring speakers who spent the afternoon with us sharing their insights and experiences. Special thanks to keynote speakers Nate Salley and Seth Bennett, whose wisdom resonated with the audience, leaving a lasting impact on many of the student-athletes that attended. Additional gratitude goes to Steve Adams, Jeff Nance and Perry Robinson who lead the officiating panel. Chad Nugen with Handshake America, Eric Rainey with The A.C.E Sports Academy and the UNCC SAAC Team contributed valuable perspectives, enriching the summit with their opportunities and knowledge.

A heartfelt appreciation to Gabriel Santana, Brianna Castro, and Mika Gittens for capturing the essence of the summit through their photography. Your visual storytelling adds a valuable dimension to the memories created during this empowering event. View the photo album HERE!!

We would like to express our gratitude to Ericia Turner of CMS Athletics and Commissioner Que Tucker of the NCHSAA for their unwavering support of student programs like this that empower our high school student-athletes. Their dedication to fostering leadership and growth among student-athletes has been instrumental in the success of this summit. Thank you for your continued commitment to the development of our youth.

Above all, our deepest thanks is extend to the dedicated teams behind the scenes, members of the CMS SAAC team and the NCHSAA State SAAC team! Your hard work, dedication, and passion for creating a positive and impactful experience for the student-athletes of North Carolina did not go unnoticed. The success of the summit is a testament to your commitment to fostering leadership and unity within our schools.

To the student-athletes and adults who participated, your presence and engagement made the 2024 CMS & NCHSAA Student Leadership Summit a resounding success. We hope each of you left with a renewed sense of purpose, armed with the tools to make a positive impact in your schools and communities.

Thank you for being part of this incredible journey towards shaping the future of student-athlete leadership in North Carolina!