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High School Athletes Gather to Discuss the Importance of Faith, Leadership & Social Media Responsibility

By Angelise Stuhl , 10/18/17, 12:45PM EDT


Athletes Representing the Philadelphia Catholic League Convene at Archbishop Carroll High School for the 2017 Student Athlete Advisory Committee Meeting.

RADNOR, PA –  For La Salle junior Cole Hammel, serving on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is an opportunity to generate a free flow of communication between student-athletes and athletic directors.

SAAC Student Interviews: Featuring Archbishop Carroll, La Salle College HS, Neumann-Goretti and Devon Prep!

“It means a lot to me personally to serve on this board because I know I am representing my school and my team,” said Hammel, who plays varsity soccer and volleyball for the Explorers. “It connects us as players to the athletic directors and allows us to really express our views and what we see, not always going wrong, but things that are going right and some things to improve upon.”

For the second year, 37 students selected to serve on the 2017-18 Archdiocese of Philadelphia (AOP) SAAC gathered at Archbishop Carroll on Oct. 5th in their first meeting of the school year. Stephen Haug, SAAC committee organizer, explained that the main purpose of this year’s board is for the students to generate meaningful discussions and further develop as leaders in their school and community. 

“The primary goal of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is to give the students a structured forum where they can hear different viewpoints and ideas and have meaningful dialogue with the focus of further enhancing the athletic experience of the thousands of students at AOP  and PCL high schools,” said Haug, who primarily serves as the executive director of athletics for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Working with the athletic directors, we implemented this program last year with a focus of improving the leadership skills of the participating student representatives and promote a positive image of our student-athletes.”

This year, AOP’s SAAC includes two representatives from Devon Preparatory School, juniors Aaron Nuble and Luke Grycewicz. Devon Prep was recently added into the Philadelphia Catholic League and will begin competing in the league next fall. Nuble appreciated the warm welcome and was honored to represent the "Tide" on the committee.  

“It means a lot to me that I was chosen to represent Devon Prep on the Student Advisory Board,” said Nuble, a junior on Devon Prep’s baseball and basketball teams. “We are a new school coming into the PCL. So, I thought by serving on the committee would build my character and show my faith and my athletic abilities.”

The event kicked-off with a guest speaker session in which the student board members were conversed to about the responsibilities that come with being a student-athlete. 

Charles Dorman, director of athletic communications at UPENN addresses how the Quakers utilize their social sites

Dr. Jay DeFruscio, President of Cardinal O'Hara, addresses the impact student-athletes have as leaders on the field and in the community

Fr. John Masson, Director of Campus Ministry at Cardinal O'Hara, talks about the importance of faith in a student-athlete's life

Charles Dorman, associate director of athletic communications and director of social media at the University of Pennsylvania, began by addressing the importance of maintaining appropriate social media accounts.

“You are what you share,” said Dorman. “Universities are taking a look at everything potential applicants and recruits put out there. Your social media is part of your application process. Ninety-seven percent of the accounts we follow on our social media accounts at UPENN are recruits we are looking at and we spend time looking through the social media posts that our kids put out there.”

Jay DeFruscio, president of Cardinal O’Hara High School and Fr. John Masson, director of campus ministry at Cardinal O’Hara, followed Dorman and focused their speeches on leadership and exemplifying a Christian attitude and example win or lose.

 “I took away that playing sports isn’t just about being good on the field, but being a good teammate and a good person overall and showing your faith,” said Tess Humes, a junior on Archbishop Carroll’s girls’ tennis and basketball teams.

The students were later broken up into small groups to discuss relevant topics in the high school sports world such as national anthem protests in the NFL, importance of good sportsmanship, developing community service initiatives, as well as the benefits and positive impacts of high school athletic participation. 

“One of my favorites takeaways from this event was to see that other people from the other schools have the same views that I do in regards to bullying and current events such as kneeling during the National Anthem,” said John Bushner, who is junior on Archbishop Carroll’s football and track teams.

The student-athlete advisory committee is scheduled to meet again in the spring of 2018. 

Members of the 2017-18 Archdiocese of Philadelphia SAAC include:

Archbishop Carroll: John Bushner, Tess Humes  John W. Hallahan: Sara Cavalcante, Julia Kuneck  Cardinal O’Hara: Allison Ahearn,  Derrick Patrick  Father Judge: Sean Patrick Evans, Shane Dooley Bonner & Prendie: PJ Tecco, Nyah Garrison  Devon Prep: Aaron Nuble, Luke Grycewicz    Little Flower: Theresa Hopkins, Maura Coleman  Neumann-Goretti: Angel Ricks, Matt Andrilla  Archbishop Ryan: Jim Crossfield, Hailey Hurst  Bishop Shanahan: Dave Angelo, Abby Bailey  St. Joseph’s Prep: Miles Green  Archbishop Wood: Erin Welsh, Andrew Funk  St. Hubert: Amber Linder, Grace Brighter  Pope John Paul II: Grace Cobaugh, Nick Rosekrans  Roman Catholic: Ethan Walter, Kieran Donnelly  Lansdale Catholic: Matt McDonald, Brady Wassel  La Salle College: Isaiah Jones, Cole Hammel Conwell-Egan: Gino Turchi, Maddy Terry Bishop McDevitt: Suzanne Cantwell, Dan Fiorella West Catholic: Rovny Dasilva and Daja Hosendorf.