Shaping Up Stevenson Students

Stevenson’s athletic department holds virtual summits to teach athletes ways to lead balanced lives


Alison Wade and Surya Sethi

In order to help athletes improve their physical and mental wellbeing, Stevenson’s athletic department hosted the first of its monthly virtual athletic summits on November 1. Presentations were led by student athletes and teachers to advance students’ knowledge of their wellbeing.  

The format of the summit was a 30-minute presentation in the form of a webinar followed by 30-minute discussions in small groups, which were facilitated by members of Patriot Pride, a group of athletes who are leaders of their teams. 

Trevor Abbott ’22, a member of Patriot Pride, and 11 other leaders guided team activities in their breakout rooms. 

“We are going to have multiple presentations throughout the year that will usually be on the first Sunday of the month,” Abbott said. “Each presentation will have a different theme. The theme in November is Health and Wellness; another theme will be, for example, Decision Making or Goals.”

Abbott and Patriot Pride have worked together to bring this athletic summit to Stevenson’s student athletes, through preparatory meetings and lesson plans. With monthly lessons that help athletes learn healthy living habits and bond as a team, Stevenson’s athletic department is hoping they will apply what they learn into their daily life. 

“This athlete summit is all about taking advantage of the opportunity, finding success in the face of adversity, and making a better athlete, better student and better individual,” Abbott said. 

Breakout room leaders are given discussion questions to talk about with athletes to expand on their knowledge of that night’s topic. The breakout room leaders are nominated North Suburban Conference leaders and are members of Patriot Pride such as Kendall Goldenson ’21, a member of cross country and track and field. 

“My role as a breakout room leader is just pretty much to talk to a few different groups of sports,” Goldenson said. “So what we do in these breakout rooms is we lead discussions, and just truly talk more in depth about the topics being presented. We also are just able to answer any questions that the athletes may have.” 

Goldenson believes that these breakout room activities form special bonds between players in different sports, forming one unified team. By creating small group environments for athletes to learn, they can understand specific lessons from others through a forum that they did not have in years past. 

“I started off my freshman year being on varsity and super fast, and up there with the top girls and then I hit a wall my sophomore and junior year,” Goldenson said. “I think learning these different ways of better nutrition and wellness, positive mindsets [and] goal setting would have helped me go through my little wall, but make it out faster than the two years it did.”

Goldenson’s struggles as an athlete are not uncommon, which motivated Stevenson’s athletic department to hold the summit and provide Stevenson athletes the tools they need to overcome challenges they may face as an athlete. For many student-athletes, the lessons themselves are helpful; however, some believe the presentation and execution of the summits can be improved by increasing student engagement. 

“I think the summit can be a bit more interesting in the beginning to be more involving and relate more to the lives of actual athletes,” Lindsey Wang ’23, a member of Stevenson’s varsity badminton team for the 2019-2020 season, said. “I think the presentation was just reading off the slides, and some of the information was very repetitive to what we actually learned in health class or what our coaches already told us. So given that repetitive part, that just sort of lost my attention and my interest.”

Even with a lack of student involvement in the first half of the summit, students were still able to gain information and begin to implement it into their own lives. Breakout room leaders gave tips relating to the lesson learned, so the athlete can apply into their everyday lives. 

“I’ve been paying more attention to, for example, my sleep schedule and now I know a lot of factors contribute to my athletic performance,” Wang said. 

Ultimately, Goldenson hopes that many Stevenson athletes will seek to improve their own performances like Wang. Still, Goldenson believes that the influence of the summit extends beyond just athletics, and that similar themes can be applied to a variety of areas in everyday life.

“We hope that all the athletes gain new insight on a variety of different topics and use the knowledge that they are gaining to their sport and to other people that may have not signed up,” Goldenson said. “And truly showcase the importance of everything we’re learning throughout this summit and becoming better leaders, better athletes, better students, and overall a better person.”