Student athletes often gather after school hours, either for practice or games.
Now a select group of student athletes are gathering before school, to discuss ways to help out not just their teams but also the school and the Brewer community at large.
The Student Athlete Advisory Council was formed this fall. It was the brainchild of new Brewer High School Athletic Director David Utterback.
“It gives student athletes a chance to contribute to the community and the school as a whole,” Utterback said. “It puts athletes in a positive light.”
The council is modeled after a similar council that Utterback established while working for then Athletic Director Gabby Price at Husson University. When Husson moved from being an NAIA school to NCAA Division III, the NCAA required such a council at member schools. The task for researching and setting up the council fell on Utterback, then an intern to Price.
“I thought it would work even better in high school than in college,” Utterback explained. “In high school, everyone knows everybody else, so there may be a larger sense of community at the high school level versus the collegiate level.”
Coaches in the 21 varsity sports at Brewer High each nominated four candidates for the council, two of whom were juniors or seniors and two of whom were juniors down to freshmen. Some students receiving multiple nominations from several coaches. That’s how the 21 members of the council were chosen.
“We wanted to get a range of ages, so there’s some left to carry on through the years,” the athletic director said.
The council meets at 7:10 a.m. every other Thursday. On this recent Thursday, students filtered in until about 7:20, and there were just enough there for a quorum, so the election of officers could be held.
The officers elected for the first year are: Chair, Ryan Lolar, of the cross country team; vice-chair, Meg Nickerson, girls’ basketball team; secretary, Glory Watson, girls’ soccer team; and treasurer, Matt Morrow, golf team.
For what he hopes would be the last time, Utterback presided over the meeting. (Future sessions will be led by the chairman.)
Having one-third of the members missing pointed out the need for better communication among the members, so a decision was made to set up a private Facebook group for the council.
In the half-hour session, Utterback and the students raced through the agenda, discussing ways to improve the Thanksgiving food drive, the upcoming KVAC Sportsmanship Summit, how best to handle end-of-season surveys, whether Brewer would be Class A or B next season and the proposal for a Brewer athletics Hall of Fame.
The students involved like the idea of having a greater voice.
“It’s important that we have a say about what goes on in the athletic programs,” said senior Allison Cote, a cheerleader. “The council gives us an opportunity to make our programs better.”
The council is also an opportunity for sports to be more inclusive.
“It’s important that we get more of our student body involved in sports, not just playing but also going to games,” said Morgan Small, a senior basketball and softball player.
The Student Athlete Advisory Council gives the students more of a chance to steer their sports.
“The student athletes can be a voice for their sports,” said Utterback. “They can advocate for what’s important to them, whether that be more attendance at events or better sportsmanship. They can promote the athletic teams and the student athletes as a whole.”