By Kayla Whitmire
Bellevue High SchoolBellevue Athletics
Athletic Director

We have all heard the phrase “student-athlete, student comes first.” Of course that places the emphasis on academics. Attend class, participate, turn in your work in a timely fashion, produce quality work, study for tests, etc.
But in Bellevue, we are taking it a step further.  We are developing life-long learners.
Our student-athletes and staff have taken advantage of several opportunities to grow as leaders in our community. Thanks to the incredible opportunities presented by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and our Bellevue Athletic Department, Bellevue student-athletes and staff are able to attend leadership conferences throughout the year.
Through the generosity of Bellevue Jr/Sr High School and the Bellevue Athletic Booster Club, our students are able to learn and grow as students, athletes and people at various leadership conferences. This year, a group of eight students attended the MHSAA Sportsmanship Summit in Kalamazoo. At this conference, there was an emphasis on leading by example with sportsmanship and integrity.
After attending the conference, Bellevue sophomore Gavin Jex said that he learned, “There is a way to get everyone involved in some sort of extracurricular event. Also, pitching a silly idea is better than not pitching anything at all because voicing your opinion could open up someone else’s thinking as well as your own.”
Bellevue eighth grader, Carter Wing learned that the biggest thing about inciting school spirit is simply to try.  Make products available, opportunities to show support and encourage others to join in on the fun.
The Women in Sports Leadership Conference was also an incredible platform for learning and growth in countless areas. This included but was not limited to sports medicine, academic eligibility, effective communication, leadership as a captain and overcoming adversity. Sophomore Alyssa Graham came to the realization that challenges are opportunities in disguise and by having a growth mindset the possibilities are limitless. Freshman Modaina Angus said, “If I go out of my comfort zone, good things happen.  Conferences like this help me to get out of my shell and build my confidence as a leader!”
It is inspiring to see our Broncos absorb information presented and apply it in the classroom, on the court and in our community.
These conferences provide a unique classroom experience for our students, along with supporting our coaching staff in professional development. Yet again, our Bronco coaching staff sets the example for our student-athletes by taking Coaches Advancement Program classes. In the 2016-2017 school year, the MHSAA will require all new varsity hires to attend a Coaches Advancement Program class. This is just one of the many ways our staff illustrates their growth mindset, love for learning and dedication to reaching potential.
Last year, the Bellevue Athletic Department organized and hosted the first ever Southern Central Athletic Association Leadership Conference. With the help of many, this event was a huge success covering the power of positive self-talk, the roles of leadership, significance of captains and overcoming adversity. The conference served close to one hundred student-athletes from the schools in the SCAA. There is also a possibility of Bellevue hosting a MHSAA Captains Clinic in April. It is evident that the Bellevue Broncos are committed to excellence. Stay tuned for more extensions of the classroom as we take educational athletics to another level.