On Sunday during the annual conference of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in Traverse City, I was privileged to participate in honoring Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory High School as the sole 2009-10 recipient of the MIAAA Exemplary Athletic Program Award, presented in partnership with the MHSAA.
The themes that emerged from the rigorous application process completed by and the site review conducted at Notre Dame Prep provide a reminder of the essential elements of an interscholastic athletic program that reaches and educates students and solidifies a community.
An astounding two-thirds of the approximately 700-member student body is involved in at least one sport at Notre Dame Prep. Onsite interviews with both students and adults revealed an obvious connection between the overall mission of the school and the manner in which the athletic program is operated day in and day out. Regular communications, including a weekly newsletter and an attractive and timely website, keep all constituents informed and engaged.
Rather than cutting administrative oversight in difficult economic times, Notre Dame Prep is committed to and has invested in an administrative team model that includes the athletic director, two assistants, an athletic secretary, an athletic trainer and an event supervisor. This approach assures communication and support before, during and after events, which maximizes the benefits and minimizes the problems that can occur in school sports.
Add great facilities – like the artificial turf stadium for football, soccer and lacrosse and a new training and fitness center that begins construction this year – and the result is a program that exemplifies the best that educational athletics can be.
Visit ndpma.org for more about this fine program.