Administration starts up “Sports Leadership Advisory” for student-athletes

Evan Stein, a member of the new Sports Leadership Advisory, competing in shot put for the Lane Track and Field team. (Photo courtesy of Stein)

Evan Stein, a member of the new Sports Leadership Advisory, competing in shot put for the Lane Track and Field team. (Photo courtesy of Stein)

By Alex Burstein, Editor-in-Chief

While looking at Lane programs that had their own leadership advisories, like Omega and Alpha, Assistant Principal Kerri Thompson had an idea to add another group into the mix: student-athletes.

“I felt like [advisory] was an untapped sort of time during the day to get with student athlete leaders to have them do some work and get their input into what’s going on with our sports program,” Thompson said.

Thompson, who is the assistant principal in charge of athletics, now has turned that idea into a reality, as Lane introduced their “Sports Leadership Advisory” this summer.

Student-athletes, both juniors and seniors, who applied to join it this summer will be moved from their current advisories and spend one or two years, depending on their grade level, in this group.

The online application was open to upperclassmen athletes from July 12 to Aug. 5. The application, which was sent along with a brief description to students, was sent via email on July 12, sparking the interest of Evan Stein, a senior on the Track and Field team and former wrestler.

“I wanted to apply because I think sports are a great outlet for students to build work ethic and character and developing a sports leadership advisory would help build new athletes and spread the values of participating in sports, at any level,” Stein told The Champion via Direct Message.

The advisory is set to be led by Brent Bradish, Lane’s new athletic director, who is hoping to capitalize on Lane’s new symbol change.

“Our athletes today can look back to previous teams and athletes over the decades and be proud of being a part of this tradition of being a ‘Champion,’” Bradish told The Champion via email. “I look forward to working with a core group of student athletes who are committed to keeping the tradition alive.”

While the athletes and Bradish will be the ones in the classroom during their advisory, Thompson has outlined four main ideas she hopes to work on through this advisory.

The first goal of the advisory, according to Thompson, is gathering ideas from student athletes surrounding events, such as homecoming and pep rally.

Her second goal revolves around equity, an idea that Thompson says is one of the big initiatives at Lane currently.

“There’s a lot of things that athletics could be doing around equity, and leadership in equity in the building,” Thompson said.

This could look like creating sportsmanship trainings for athletes to take once they make a team or enforcing new protocols regarding sportsmanship, according to Thompson. 

Thompson says members of the advisory can then become leaders on their respective teams with these trainings and protocols. Leadership is something Parker Hong, a senior and rower for the Chicago Rowing Foundation, enters the advisory hoping to learn more about.

“The new leadership advisory allows me to not only surround myself with other leaders and captains in their respective sports, but to further develop my own leadership so that I know my teammates can trust that they elected a captain that would lead them towards victory,” Hong said.

Thompson’s third goal for the advisory focuses on community outreach and service, including at nearby elementary schools. Her final goal focuses on creating camaraderie between teams and student groups.

“I think that that’s also something that that group could do and sort of spearhead and that would be super positive — to bring the school, all the people and all the groups in the school, together,” Thompson said.

A couple factors are set to help with Thompson’s final goal. Thompson said that almost every sport in the building is going to be represented, along with non-IHSA sports. 

“I’ve also included and [sought] out students who are athletes also but who are not necessarily training at Lane Tech,” Thompson said.

This is something that Hong thinks is extra important, as someone who does a sport that Lane doesn’t offer.

“Lane Tech prides itself on its diverse student body, drawing thousands of unique voices from all over the city of Chicago,” Hong said. “In the same way, it’s important to have student-athletes representing both IHSA and non-IHSA sports in this advisory, so that their experiences and accomplishments can all be seen, heard, and celebrated alike.”

Even with the current large representation of sports, Thompson says moving forward, she hopes to have two advisories, one junior and one senior, for the student-athlete leaders.

But before the focus shifts towards the expansion of the advisory, Bradish and some of the current athletes have some ideas of what they’re hoping to accomplish through the group.

Bradish says he has a “plethora of ideas,” but is starting simple.

“I want to work with our Coaching Advisory Board and our Student Advisory Council to brainstorm how to best support all of the athletic programs at Lane,” Bradish said. “No matter what team you are on, you should feel the support of all the coaches and athletes.”

Senior volleyball player Michael Cardines sees a couple of different areas that the advisory can work on in the building, starting with culture. 

“Lane can always work on developing a strong sense of culture, one that promotes hard work, communication, and passion,” Cardines said.

And while the advisory will contain only athletes, Stein thinks the work they can do can affect all students.

“I hope to help create a better leadership environment with fellow student athletes to improve the school climate and just try to make the school a better place for everyone, not just athletes,” Stein said.