Conference S.A.A.C. Group Active at CIAAs Rock the Rim in Charlotte
Conference S.A.A.C. Group Active at CIAA's Rock the Rim in Charlotte
By: Meredith Long, Senior Woman Administrator/Sports Information Director (Chowan University)
CHARLOTTE, NC - The CIAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee enjoyed a full week of activities at the 2009 CIAA Basketball Tournament February 24th-28th. Twelve student-athletes representing each respective CIAA institution, including new members Chowan University and Lincoln University (PA), participated in several planned events ranging from career development to community service. Each student-athlete represented their school's S.A.A.C. committee as ambassadors for their college or university during the CIAA Basketball Tournament and many of the surrounding festivities.
The student-athletes would not have experienced this week-long development opportunity had it not been for the hard work of Monique Morgan, Associate Commissioner of the CIAA. Morgan is an advocate for student-athlete development and spends many hours dedicated to finding new opportunities for young people to grow professionally and personally.
"The development of leaders is our purpose at the CIAA. We hope to provide the tools through their athletic experiences to make a difference in their communities, whether their communities are within their immediate families or as vast as the United States," said Morgan. "My goal is to provide critical thinking opportunities where these student-athletes can create change and make an impact on the next generation."
The week started with the CIAA Kick-Off Luncheon on Tuesday, February 24th where participating teams and individuals were recognized for their hard work on the court and in the classroom over the course of the season. After the hour-long event, the S.A.A.C. students shuffled to near by Johnson C. Smith University where they participated in an intimate career development session presented by Chowan graduate, Bucky Glover. Glover is a 1974 graduate of Chowan University and is now a part-owner in Potter & Company, P.A., a large CPA firm based in Charlotte. Glover spoke with the students on interview preparation, making first and lasting impressions, and how to set themselves apart from other interviewees in a very competitive job market.
Glover brought recent Chowan graduate, Michael Dickerson, and Johnson C. Smith graduate, LeKeisha Singleton, who work under Glover at Potter & Company, P.A. Both gave advice and tips on breaking into a tough job market while also answering pointed questions from the group.
"Mr. Glover and his associates were great. I really got a lot of out their presentation on interview preparation and what employers are looking for in recent college graduates," stated Adrian Cook, S.A.A.C. President at Chowan University. "Mr. Glover did an excellent job relating athletic experience and work place experience; especially how our athletic experiences can give us an edge in today's ultra-competitive job market."
On Wednesday, February 25th the group helped to host over 3,500 high school students from all over North Carolina at the CIAA-High School Day hosted at the Charlotte Convention Center. The group guided future college hopefuls through a college fair with each CIAA institution represented along with answering questions regarding NCAA compliance and the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Lydia Harsley and Felecia Johnson, both Compliance Directors at their respective institutions of Saint Pauls College and Virginia Union University, gave out valuable information to potential college student-athletes. Harsley and Johnson, along with Meredith Long from Chowan University, were part of the SAAC group as chaperones and spent the week participating in these events with the students.
On Thursday, February 26th, the group got a chance to meet with prospective employers at the Career Expo held at the Charlotte Convention Center. But perhaps the most rewarding experience came from their time at Albemarle Road Elementary School. The students spent Friday morning with all grades, reading stories written by and about African-Americans in celebration of African-American History Month. The college students were an inspiration to these young, aspiring leaders at Albemarle Road Elementary School as they not only read these poignant books, but also answered questions on how to aspire higher, set goals, and reach for the stars.
"It's so powerful for our students at Albemarle Road to visualize themselves taking that next step in life, and the school visits from the CIAA groups helped them to visualize what may come next for them," said Melissa Miller, Math Facilitator and guide for the SAAC group at Albemarle Road. "What's special about the CIAA SAAC visit is that that our students can actually see and learn the historical content of an HBCU, and begin to understand that education at an HBCU is not a last resort, that all HBCU's have a strong place amongst all colleges and universities," continued Miller.
The CIAA SAAC group was indeed excited about their time at Albemarle Road. "The students could see and feel the excitement of the CIAA students and in turn, fed off that excitement. It was amazing to see the college students relate the books that they read to their personal experiences and relay those experiences to the students," stated Miller.
On Super Saturday the SAAC group finally got some down time to enjoy the many festivities that revolve around the CIAA Tournament. They participated in the Ford Fan Zone, watched the cheer and band competitions, and supported the teams in the championship games on Saturday night.
Morgan and the CIAA office are committed to developing young leaders and creating opportunity in community. "I am always thinking of programming, authors, speakers and activities that develop leadership skills. I truly enjoy it and hope that these student-athletes can reap the benefits," stated Morgan.
The SAAC group's involvement is vital to the overall success of the CIAA Tournament. "It's an opportunity for our conference SAAC to act as a team during this huge championship week. They are ambassadors for the community, to see what the CIAA produces."
Morgan wrapped the week's activities with a quote that resounds in the CIAA from past to present, "CIAA for life!"