Assistance for New Student Athletes

Janet Feldon assists students in Creating College Success classJanet Feldon assists students in Creating College Success class Diligence, persistence and focus are all traits that produce success on the field or on the court for young student athletes.  What if students took those same attributes and applied them to the classroom?

A new program created by the Mesa Community College Counseling Department in partnership with the MCC Athletic Department is helping local high school students do just that.

MCC Director of Counseling, Karen Hardin, said the new “Creating College Success” class pilot program is designed to offer academic skill building while prospective college students are still in high school and enables them to earn concurrent college credit.  Then, when they come to college, their academic performance will match their sports performance.

“We are teaching them to be champions in the classroom and on the court,” Hardin said.

During three Saturday sessions, Hardin works with students on improving strategies for taking tests, setting short-term and long-term goals, and overcoming obstacles. The class also introduces the families to MCC athletes, increases the students’ ability to perform better on the SAT or ACT, and provides information on the route to Division 1 schools through participating in sports at MCC.

Mountain Pointe High School sophomore Spencer Simmons, who recently finished up the class, said he’s already using what he learned and is applying it to his high school courses.

“I learned a lot of different things that I normally wouldn’t use,” Simmons said.  “Now I have a lot more techniques to try.”

Hardin said the program fills a need as academic regulations are increasing across the nation.

“We came up with this after seeing how student athletes struggle and the general nationwide awareness of students coming out of high school struggling to stay eligible for scholarships,” Hardin said. “The class teaches techniques on how to be better students and transfer successfully to college life.”

The program also teaches students that even if the sport they have chosen doesn’t work out, they can still achieve academic success.

MCC Coach Willie Young works with Hardin to provide information about the recruiting process to the student athletes. In high school, Young was a sought-after 6’5” point guard whose career plans changed when he ended up in the hospital with an injury.

“You stay the course and finish school,” Young advises the students. “I had to be not only a basketball player but a man with a degree.”

MCC is working with Amateur Athletic Union (AAU coaches), Basketball Club International (BCI) coaches and high school student athletic directors to get the word out about the program.  The course, AAA115, will be offered again starting Jan. 5, 2013, and be held from 9 a.m. -1:20 p.m. on Saturday Jan. 5, 12 and 26. For more information, contact Dr. Hardin at 480-461-7588.

About Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering its more than 40,000 students to succeed in a local and global community.  Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District.

Please direct media inquiries to Angela Askey at or Sally Mesarosh at  or the Office of Institutional Advancement at 480-461-7445.  IA website:

Source Details

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, November 6, 2012