Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Hunt for White Paws Begins!

Today marked the first day of classes here at Lake Forest College! While most students have just returned to the academic environment, our football Foresters have been preparing for this academic year for the past several weeks. During camp, Coach Cat arranged for the entire team to meet with Dean DeJuran Richardson to discuss time management and the importance of being academically focused during their time at the College. Additionally, the freshmen were able to meet with the director of the Writing Center, Professor Dawn Abt-Perkins.

When asked what he learned from meeting with Dean Richardson and Professor Abt-Perkins, freshman Mike Peters said, “I learned how to approach professors without being scared and I learned what I need to do to be academically successful here at Lake Forest. After all, that’s what we are here for.” Freshman Will Adams commented, “I learned that the Writing Center is the most underutilized resource here and it’s a good place to go for help if you get stuck on a paper.”

Coach Cat has always emphasized the importance of being both a successful student and athlete. When asked why he feels that it is important to hold separate meetings about academics with the football team, he said,

“At a school like Lake Forest College, the expectations of the College aren’t always in line with those of the students. When freshmen come in, they have this preconceived notion of what college is supposed to be like and it’s not always true. The professors here at the College are awesome teachers and players don’t always feel as though they should need to ask for help. I want to put the players in a ‘safe environment’ in which they see professors as approachable resources as opposed to just authority figures. Additionally, it’s critical that our players start strong because one bad semester can never be recovered. I want our players to be successful. In my mind, the achievement of a degree is not success…it is simply a goal. To achieve true academic success, they must maximize their abilities, learn as much as they can through shared experiences and become much more than just competent in a subject. Though I’m glad when all of our guys receive their degrees on graduation day, nothing makes me happier than when they receive awards for excellence, such as Phi Beta Kappa invitations and the Oppenheimer Award [won this past year by kicker Noah Dion ‘10].”

The upperclassmen were also eager to weigh in. Senior quarterback Geoff Sobey had the following advice to offer to the freshmen: “Write down your complete schedule Monday through Sunday from six o’clock in the morning to midnight, followed by getting to class ten minutes early to take front row seating. Then, find the cute looking girl in the class and study with her.” [We later learned that all came directly from Dean Richardson’s speech—it obviously stuck in his memory!] Sophomore quarterback Justin Novak added, “Go to your professors with anything. They are more than willing to help.”

It sounds as though the Foresters are off to a great start! Here's hoping for covered helmets...

--Elise Beckman, contributing author

[White paws are given to players for academic excellence, among other things. They are proudly displayed on the backs of the players' helmets. Look for them at upcoming games!]