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Myron Rolle on CNN

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Myron Rolle paid a quick visit to CNN this morning touching on topics ranging from the NFL draft, education versus money, the possibilities of being an MD and life as role model.

For those new to this story, Mr. Rolle is a Hun School alumnus, Florida State graduate, Florida State football  player, potential NFL first round draft pick, Rhodes Scholar headed to Oxford this fall and aspiring MD.

It's been said for some time that America's greatest export is our culture- movies, entertainment and sports (I first came across this notion at a talk given by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith more than 20 years ago). What's interesting is that, as we export our culture, and a larger body of people begin living it, our talent pool for say- acting or athletics- grows.

As American players have made inroads into European soccer, foreign born players are now finding their way into American football. The International Herald Tribune ran an article last weekend highlighting USA Football.

As American football grows as an export and athletes- mostly in Europe- learn the game at younger ages, good athletes, well versed in the game become prospective players at even higher levels of the game. Every coach looks for the advantage- stronger, faster, smarter.

The IHT story focuses on players moving from the European club teams to American prep-school teams (Mercersburg Academy, Kimball Union Academy, Salisbury School, Kent School) and their entry into the highest level of college football- the Bowl Championship Subdivision.

EduKick Expands International Boarding Options

Back in September, we wrote about EduKick and their international soccer boarding schools. In an article that came across my desk yesterday, Joe Coito and Joey Bilotta, EduKick's co-founders, have expanded their international boarding school sports options with the launch of Travel Sport Camp (TSC).

Travel Sport Camp offers students language and cultural immersion opportunities similar to EduKick across a wide variety of sports- basketball, cycling, tennis, volleyball, handball, table and paddle tennis, surfing; multi-sports camps are also an option.

As Joe Coito, president and co-founder of Travel Sport Camp told American Chronicle:

 "Empowering our children to broaden their perspective is crucial in our shrinking world. With the increasing trend toward globalization, our programs emphasize intercultural competence, the ability to understand and communicate clearly with other cultures. This is a vital aspect of the Travel Sport Camp international academy experience for our young participants."

We're interested in all types of boarding schools and today we're happy to highlight a school and student that pour their efforts into international soccer.

French 3rd division professional team, AS Cannes, recently invited American Mason Hampel to participate on its U18 development squad. Development squads serve as training grounds and possible stepping stones to a professional career in the incredibly competitive world of European soccer.

AS Cannes noticed Mason's potential while he was a student at EduKick's soccer boarding school in Cannes. Mason previously attended EduKick's school Spain.

Mason hit the ground running in Cannes diving in to training, fitness tests and friendly matches.

"We're very proud of Mason," said Joey Bilotta, vice president of EduKick. "He's an extremely talented player, and he will be a strong addition to the AS Cannes U18 squad.  It is a huge, huge honor to be invited to try out for a professional team. It's something that only happens for our very best players, so we're always excited when somebody truly deserving like Mason gets chosen."
EduKick reports that Mason's amateur contract with the AS Cannes U18 squad will not jeopardize his future American college eligibility.

See and hear Mason comment on his experiences by watching the video below and to learn more about EduKick international soccer boarding schools, visit

We found a school where "it" really is in the water-  The Bolles School (Jacksonville, FL). Bolles has ten current student or alumni and four coaches swimming and coaching for twelve countries in Beijing. Bolles has a long history of Olympic swimmers noting that 76 Bolles students and alumni competed in the games through 2004.

Bolles maintains a blog following their alumni swimmers throughout the games:

You can read more about the Bolles to Beijing connection on their main school site.
For committed day student athletes participating in summer conditioning programs, the greatest challenge is getting to the gym or to school. Once in the gym, your teammates, coaches, and trainers help with your program and push you to get better. After some gym time, non-contact drills follow easily. Most everyone who can be is present.

Summer conditioning presents challenges for boarding school teams considering how many players are spread all over the globe. This recent article talks about how  Riverside Military Academy students prepare for the fall season even though for many the training is done alone, away from campus.

Gould Academy Takes to the Snow

We recently spoke with Mark Godomsky, Gould Academy's On-Snow program director. On-Snow results from Gould's commitment to using and connecting the school to its surroundings. In Bethel, Maine, this means students on and in the snow- in programs ranging from recreational skiing, to ski patrol, to a competition program the trains year round.

Question (Q): Can you tell us about the genesis of the On-Snow program? What are its roots? Did it grow out of an earlier program?

Mark Godomsky (MG): It's not a stretch to say that skiing has been at Gould for nearly as long as it has been in America. I've got a pair of jumping skis that belonged to an alum from the class of 1933. They were presented to me by the former Gould Nordic coach, a man by the name of Dick Taylor who was also captain of the 1964 U.S. Olympic X-C Team. There is a lot of tradition here of outstanding snow sports and outstanding coaches. People like Dick and going back to the 1950's people like Paul Kailey, a Middlebury alum who helped develop the competitive skiing program here and who was also a pioneer in developing Sunday River. Gould's On-Snow Program today is a continuation of a historically strong offering that is steeped in tradition. Along the way we've added "newer" elements like the competitive freestyle and snowboarding programs and Ski Patrol. Like those before use, we continue to look for ways to make the programs better and continue the tradition.

Q: Why On-Snow right now? Anything special about the opportunities or timing?

MG: These high quality programs offer a variety of opportunities for student-athletes in the winter that are tough to find within the traditional boarding school realm.  

A student at Gould can spend six days a week on the mountain snowboarding or freeriding, developing his/her skills and staying fit. Another student might spend six days a week learning life saving skills, working toward certification as a member of the National Ski Patrol. And finally, a student can train hard six days a week with a qualified, full time coaching staff made up of former NCAA Division I racers and coaches. There is something for everyone who enjoys being on the hill or on our 40km on-campus trail system.

Q: Do you envision On-Snow growing into a pillar or major component of the school?

MG: I'd say it is a large component and one of many unique programs that sets Gould apart from other traditional New England private boarding schools. We're only six miles away from Sunday River Ski Resort. The backside of the mountain is the backdrop for our campus. Our relationship with and proximity to arguably the best ski resort in the northeast with some of the most varied terrain is very attractive and difficult to find anywhere else in the East. But, it's not about being a pillar or a major component. As I heard recent alum and current U.S. Ski Team member Bump Heldman '07 say this past fall, "At Gould, I got a great education and could ski with the U.S. Ski Team." He was a standout catcher on the baseball team, a positive member of the community, a great student who was accepted at strong schools, and was the recipient of this year's Eastern Ski Writers Association Award. One of our core values at Gould is to develop the whole person. The On-Snow Program is part of the package.

Q: Can you lay out the pieces of On-Snow and what each might mean to a participating student? Competitive versus non competitive?

MG: Gould's Competition Program provides student-athletes the opportunity to train and compete at the highest level in a number of disciplines: Freestyle, Snowboard, Alpine and Nordic. Skiers and snowboarders compete between 30-50 times a year, travel all over the country and the world, and are on-snow four hours a day six days a week including school vacations. During the off-season, they train in trampoline and water camps and in a variety of summer conditioning programs both on-snow and off. Due to the number of hours required, the Competition Program requires a student-athlete who is truly committed to athletic and academic success.

For students who enjoy competition but are looking for a less rigorous program, Gould offers its Prep Program. This is designed as a traditional prep school team sport, where student-athletes participate in a school race league and compete once a week. The program requires a commitment of three hours a day five days a week when school is in session.

On the non-competitive side, Gould offers some very unique programs. A large number of students take advantage of the Rug Rats Program, teaching local elementary school kids how to ski and snowboard three days a week. Those who participate find the experience to be very rewarding.

Gould's Ski Patrol Program is the only one in the country that helps students become certified members of the National Ski Patrol. The program requires training six days a week including one day of classroom work. Students work with full-time Sunday River patrollers. It typically takes three years of training before a student becomes a certified member and requires a strong commitment.

We also offer a Ski & Ride Program which gives students the opportunity to spend four days a week on the mountain with one day of conditioning. This is a popular program that gives students a way to stay fit and enjoy Sunday River. There are no weekend commitments and the groups are small averaging eight students to one teacher.

Q: How large is the program? What percentage of the student body participates in On-Snow?

MG: It is a large program. This past year approximately 80 percent of our student body (roughly 250 students) were involved.

Q: Is On-Snow designed to work and serve as the focal point of winter sports? Either way does this mean anything for other winter sports such as basketball and hockey?

MG: It is certainly a very popular and robust program, and we have a different class day schedule in the winter to maximize day light hours on the mountain and Nordic trails. The program has little to no impact on our basketball program. Our varsity boys' team won the western Maine Championship two years ago and were in the post season again this year as was the girls' team. Overall, our competitive athletic programs are strong.

Q: On-Snow seems outdoor oriented, does Gould have any notions of expanding On-Snow into the fall or spring programs- giving them any more of an outdoor flavor?

MG: We offer a lot of opportunity for dry land training and conditioning in the fall and spring. This summer we are offering an on-snow training camp at Mt. Hood in Oregon. Going back to our whole person core value, along with academics, athletics, arts and community life, we believe that intensive experiences in the natural world is an important part of developing the whole person. Our location in western Maine on the edge of the White Mountains is a terrific asset and plays a role in our identity. Gould also offers rock climbing, fall student orientation trips, an eight day winter camping trip for the junior class, and each fall the entire school takes a day off to climb a mountain together.

Final Four- boarding school flavor

If you follow NCAA men's basketball, you might notice a small, steady- but large, in a disproportionate sense- number of high caliber basketball players whose biographies include boarding school. This year is no exception.  

Quietly and very well, boarding schools have been educating students destined for NCAA Division I basketball programs- especially the New England schools that play in the upper two basketball divisions- Classes A and B.

On first thought, this practice garners a "huh?" But, it makes good sense and provides a great opportunity for players.

Every New England Class A and B boys basketball team, usually contains a handful or fewer players who will move from their boarding school to an NCAA division I program each year. This year three players with boarding school experience are in the Final Four:

UCLA's Aflred Aboya who attended Tilton School.

Kansas' Brady Morningstar attended New Hampton School and Sasha Kaun is a graduate of Florida Air Academy (for more on Sasha Kaun check out this recent Yahoo! Sports' article).

A quick read through some men's NCAA Division I rosters yield several boarding schools. Here in Mississippi, you'll find Kodi Augustus at Mississippi State. He did a PG year at Maine Central institute.

You'll find players of this caliber attending each of the NEPSAC class A and B schools. Many of these students attend boarding school to improve their academic preparation and gain a wealth of other benefits along the way- the consistent boarding school structure, study skills, small classes, academic focus, test preparation. The high caliber of basketball contributes to the deal.

Then, you get to the obvious question, why do boarding schools have these high caliber athletic programs? First, basketball is not alone. Boarding schools have collegiate caliber athletes across the board. Men's and women's hockey is very strong in boarding schools. From Class A and B basketball, schools get a strong winter program which can help provide a rallying point during a long winter and a higher athletic profile.

You'll even hear Dick Vitale mention a boarding name when excitedly talking about a kid. Dickie V. and his colleagues usually garble the school name; they always say "_____ prep" even though prep or preparatory isn't in the school name of nickname.

There's nary a school out there that wouldn't like to hear its name mentioned on a national telecast on winter afternoon or during the Final Four.  

On To the NBA (post collegiate)

Several boarding school collegians have made their way into the NBA. We've begun a list of players and their schools and hope to add to it over time. Here's a partial list:

Carmelo Anthony, Oak Hill Academy
William Avery,  Oak Hill Academy
Caron Butler, Maine Central Institute
Sam Cassell, Maine Central Institute
Francisco Garcia, Cheshire Academy
Josh Howard, Hargrave Military Academy
Jarrett Jack, Worcester Academy
DerMarr Johnson, Maine Central Institute
Rashad McCants, New Hampton School
Brad Miller, Maine Central Institute
Cuttino Mobley, Maine Central Institute
Rajon Rondo, Oak Hill Academy
Craig Smith, Worcester Academy
Jerry Stackhouse,  Oak Hill Academy
Marcus Williams,  Oak Hill Academy

Direct to the NBA
With the changes in NBA position several boarding school students have moved directly from high level prep school basketball directly to the NBA. Boarding school contributes structure and maturity and, if the player possesses the athleticism and ability, he can move directly to the hyper competitive adult world of the NBA. Players recently moving from boarding school to the NBA include:

Andre Blatche, South Kent School
DeSagana Diop, Oak Hill Academy
Stephen Jackson, Oak Hill Academy
Josh Smith, Oak Hill Academy
Dorell Wright, South Kent School
Korleone Young, Hargrave Military Academy

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