Tag Archives: newark memorial high school

Team Photo Day was a big success

9 May

At RAW Elite Bay Area Allstars Program, we don’t believe in doing the same boring pictures each year. We always tried to add a little something special.


This year our team photoshoot included some really fun themes and it was a HIT!

REA Bay Area Competitive Cheerleading team is Enrolling athletes now. Didn’t make your High School or Middle School team. Don’t worry – We have a place for you!

20152016jump No Cheerleading experience – We have a place for you.

Looking for a more affordable, fun but hard working team. Schedule your team placement appointment for May 15. Visit Bay Area Competitive Cheerleading Program Placements website http://www.rawtalentselite.com Create an account and enroll for free placements. Come see why athletes from San Jose, Pleasanton, Dublin, Milpitas, Newark and more train at RAW Elite Allstars.

Mediocrity – The New Norm?

22 Feb

At a recent coaches meeting, then again at a college recruiting meeting, the concern of mediocrity becoming ramped amongst today’s youth was a hot topic. In the college recruiting meeting were two athletic recruiters, one academic recruiter and one recruiter whose sole focus was to diversify her school. We were all meeting for different reasons, for myself, I was in the meeting to see how to increase the scholarship chances of our gym’s senior cheerleaders and dancers. The recruiters however were there to speak to us coaches and teachers about their struggle to recruit today’s youth because mediocrity has become the norm.

“Students are making it hard for us to diversify our student base,” said one recruiter. He continued to say “Too many student athletes are not pushing themselves to be the best they can be, they seem content to be just ‘one of the guys (girls’). They just stopped trying to stand out in unique ways”. Truth is as an educator and coach I knew exactly what he was saying, I have seen it over and over again, kids dummying down their abilities so they don’t excel past a friend. But since most of the other coaches in the room seemed to be confused by that statement the recruiter made, I asked for an example. He proceed to tell us about this athlete who had been playing soccer for over 12 years. She carried an average 3.5 GPA, stayed out of trouble and made sure to make nice with teachers and classmates. She even did a few stints of public service to beef of the college resume. So what was his issue with her? Well, the reality was, ANY STUDENT trying to get into college was doing exactly what she was doing – playing a sport, good grades and community advocate. There was nothing that made her special. After 15 applications and 5 recruiters, she ended her school year with NO scholarship, no offer to join a college soccer team (which she said was her life’s goal). Meanwhile, her other teammates were awarded scholarships; grants and walk on spots onto the team.  What did her other teammates have that she didn’t, they all had that something “special”. While student A (the person used in this example) was out doing the basic college stuff, her teammates were out perfecting their specialized soccer tricks like The Roulette, taking extra AP classes to beef up the academics, taking ballet classes to increase flexibility and agility. These other teammates understood that although a 3.0+ GPA may sound good to most people, in the world of academic and sports competition, it’s pretty mediocre. Now, student A did get accepted into a few colleges but none of them offered her a spot on a soccer team and that was her goal.

But how does this apply to Cheerleading or Dance? It’s important for team members and parents alike to understand that being part of a team is so much more than showing up to practice each week. The truth is, anyone can show up to practice and pay a competition or uniform fee, if this is all a person does when on a team – most coaches, team members and colleges consider this “mediocrity”. It’s those who practice when they are not in the gym or on the field. Those who stretch mark and work their routines daily to be the best they can be when with the team.  Team members who come to practice each time fully knowing their routines and showing they are progressing, those are the ones whom have broken the cycle of mediocrity. All the recruiters agreed on one thing at this meeting, “mediocrity has become the norm across the board of today’s youth”. Who is to blame? Some blame the parents, some blame the students, blame the teachers or blame them all.

Truth is, anyone who lets you slide through life without expecting you to grow (mentally or physically) is to blame, and yes that includes you.  Everyone has to make a choice, everyday you chose to be ok or the best you can be (at any given thing). There is no substitution for practice, if you don’t practice for a challenging spelling test you will most likely fail, if you don’t practice a routine you will fail. Students are not sent to school or to the gym to fail, so teachers and coaches must enforce learning, dedication and commitment. Sadly, in most schools, most sporting leagues and many other youth programs, the focus is not advancement of the youth, the focus is money. How many paying kids can they get in their doors or on their fields and its time parents and students alike stop accepting this as a way of life. If you have been in gymnastics for 5 years and you still can’t do a solid backhandspring (and you’re a healthy person with no physical restrictions), you need to find a new gym. If you have been cheering for 3 years and don’t have a solid tumbling pass, heel stretch and amazing showmanship, its time to move on. Been with the same tutor for 2 years and still learning at the same level, MOVE ON! Let these teachers and coaches know that mediocrity is NOT acceptable, that you demand more for yourself as an athlete and as a parent you want to see growth. You want to know you are paying for skill training not “play time”.

In the end, the meeting was very informative.  Some coaches are very “Dance Moms” style and have blow out fights with mom’s, dad’s and kids and are faced with parents who end up hating their schools. But these very coaches/teachers say they wouldn’t have it any other way, they see it as a way to “weed out the weak”.  Other’s seemed grateful the discuss took the turn it did because they are struggling with the same issue of kids coming to their programs ill-prepared and not having done their “homework”. The recruiters wanted to make one message very clear to all of us “if you want your students to come to our colleges, you better teach them that medirocrity is 200% unexceptable and will lady your students with no collegescholarship offers”. These recruiters sent a strong message, its up to today’s parent and educator to teach that “medicroity” should not and should have never been a part of the norm. Encourage yourself, your students, your child to push to be the best they can be, go beyond the call of duty and be fully committed to their school and/or team. These students are certain to excel in school, sport and life!

At the end one of the recruiters handed out this speech written by a high schooler:

By O. Douglas, Salutatorian

Apathy is rampant among many young people today. Students are often not willing to work hard to attain success. Mediocrity has become the norm for many of my generation. Many students feel success is owed to them and that it is society’s role to provide it. This false belief has led to complacency.

This apathy can be addressed by schools. If students are given the opportunity to learn in an environment where they are challenged, they will aim higher. Supportive teachers and dedicated administrators help foster a positive environment . My experience in a small learning community has taught me to overcome mediocrity. I have been challenged and supported academically by my teachers. Providing additional help whenever needed, they make themselves readily available to students so that they can be better prepared for college.

As a child of a single parent, I have my mother as a guide . Her sacrifices and values have served as a positive beacon. While I could have easily become a statistic, her example directed me away from negative influences. Others, who have not had the guidance I have had, may not have felt as compelled to succeed . Some young people feel they can do just enough to get by and still be successful. Many don’t see the importance of education, and thus don’t make it a priority.

These issues are the responsibility of the entire community. Teens are constantly bombarded by images of greed and selfishness. More positive role models are needed . There are many positive leaders in the Atlanta community, but they aren’t as obvious to students as the negative figures.

It is incumbent upon all of us to do our part and change the present to better the future.