Posted: 10/12/2012 | Last updated: October 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Just one day before the Lehigh men’s basketball team holds its first official practice the Mountain Hawks hit the road for a community service event at Nitschmann Middle School on Thursday. Lehigh head coach Brett Reed, along with several players, conducted a presentation to the eight graders at the middle school, focusing on five key components to becoming successful in the classroom and in life. The program, run through the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) is called “Stay in to Win.”
“It’s always great to give back to the community, especially as we get ready for the season,” said senior C.J. McCollum. “We’ll be really busy, so we wanted to make sure we got some community service in before the season starts. We talked about keys to success. Staying in school was the biggest point; we wanted to make sure we preached that.”
“It’s a decision making step-to-success process where one of the key components is making sure students are engaged in their education,” said Reed. “It’s not only dropout prevention, but also building towards a future and making bright choices in multiple areas of their life.”
Lehigh has consistently been involved with community service over the years and continues to complete voluntary work in the local area, closing out the fall at the middle school. The Mountain Hawks started the school year off at Donegan Community School’s opening day community outreach pep rally.
The focus of Thursday’s assembly involved the Mountain Hawks teaming up with the NABC, which was a good way to have current student-athletes present information to the youngsters regarding the importance of staying in school, team success, personal development, decision making and the importance of practice.
Five members of the basketball program presented five key parts to the achievement PowerPoint, capped off by an encouraging speech by Coach Reed. In total, nine different Lehigh players attended the event.
The players were asked to introduce themselves, along with their major and graduation year. The students became extremely focused in on the Mountain Hawks when they began discussing topics they could relate to like winning, becoming a professional and carrying over the skills they learn from their respective sports to help improve daily life decisions.
Lehigh showed a short highlight video from the 2011-2012 season and followed the program with a question and answer session. The Nitschmann Middle School students were interested in knowing what obstacles the players had gone through on their path to college and how hard they work together to achieve one common goal.
The main topic the Mountain Hawks wanted to get across to the students was the importance of staying in school. According to their principal, many students want to be successful in life, but fail to realize the importance of education at an early age.
The team shared real life examples of adversity, while preaching the importance of teamwork and finishing what you start. Reed concluded the assembly with some school spirit cheers after he gave the youngsters some life lessons involving decision making and how using their support systems can make all the difference down the road.
“The presentation was good for the students,” said McCollum. “The visual graphics helped a lot and I think the message was clear and concise.”
“It was really rewarding to see our players involved and engaged in the community,” said Reed. “We have a lot of influential youth here in Bethlehem who looks up to not only our accomplishments on the basketball court, but also the accomplishments of these men. Our players have taken successful decisions in a lot of different areas of their lives and put it together to ultimately be who they are today.”
Check back to Lehighsports.com for continued updates on the Lehigh men’s basketball team leading into a much-anticipated 2012-13 season.
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