College Plans, Sports Honor for CICS Northtown Academy Scholar

Noa is a senior at CICS Northtown Academy. She likes writing, and aspires to be a public relations manager for a sports team. As the captain of her basketball team and the varsity volleyball team, sports are a big part of Noa’s life—so much so that she was recently recognized as a finalist for Positive Coaching Alliance’s Triple-Impact Scholarship.

Through CICS Northtown Academy, Noa was introduced to the Positive Coaching Alliance, which uses the youth and high school sport experience to develop better athletes, better students, and better people. Since 2010, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) has worked with schools in Chicago to hold workshops for student athletes and coaches, focusing on creating “Triple Impact Competitors” who better themselves, their teammates, and their sport as a whole. Thanks to a grant from IMC Financial Markets, PCA has been working with CICS Northtown Academy and CICS Longwood since summer 2014, and the program is already having an impact on students.

“Even just looking at the [post-workshop] surveys, we saw that CICS students are really grasping on to our messaging and principles,” says Jason Sacks, PCA’s Executive Director. “Honoring the game, sportsmanship—a lot of students talk about how that stuck with them. For example, CICS Longwood students were talking about strategies to bounce back from mistakes. They were thinking about how they can react to mistakes during the game, then move on to the next play and get better. All of the students at CICS Longwood and CICS Northtown are very engaged—you can see how the kids are locked-in to the presentation.”

Noa adds that “We had a training workshop here at the school where the leader sat us down and told us what positive coaching was. We know that as players, we have to be leaders not only for our team but for the sport in general. The whole positive coaching idea is making yourself better, your team better and your sport better.” Her favorite aspect of these workshops, she says, is that they bring together athletes from every team at the school. “I really liked that we could interact with each other, and I think that helped us understand each other better. I don’t play softball, but other people there did and it was helpful for me to understand what they do during a game.”

The Positive Coaching philosophy stuck with Noa so much that she entered her personal essay into PCA’s Triple Impact Competitor scholarship program. “I found out about the scholarship through my sports director, and I just wrote small stories about the experiences that I had making myself, my team, and my sport better. They emailed me telling me I was a finalist, and then I had to make a video portraying those three main things for the next round,” she explains.

Though Noa did not win the scholarship, she made it to a final round of 30 students, out of over 300 applicants. Her achievements were honored at PCA’s 5th Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner, which, Noa says, felt great. “I realized that the things I’ve done have all been recognized, and I didn’t expect them to be recognized in this way. I’ve been captain of my team, and have been playing sports all four years of high school. I invited my parents, and all of the scholars were with their families too.”

At the dinner, PCA paired each student up with a mentor who was a former high school or college player. “I was excited to meet my mentor because I know we have that shared experience, that she’s another woman who’s played sports. I feel like she can connect with me because she’s recently out of college and can introduce me to more good connections for the future,” says Noa.

And that future is approaching fast—after completing her time at CICS Northtown Academy this spring, Noa will attend Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She plans to major in communications and public relations, hopefully working towards managing public relations for a sports team or arena. “I have a broad capability, so I want to be able to bring in my own ideas and interests,” she says. Noa has had a lot of success so far, and thanks her coaches, teachers, college counselors, and—of course—her parents. “Whatever happens, they’re still proud of me… they’re always supportive of me no matter what.”

Thank you to Noa, CICS Northtown teacher Eileen McBride, Jason Sacks, and Positive Coaching Alliance for sharing their time with CICS.