The man who brought several colleges to San Tan Foothills High School last month has once again done something that is geared towards enhancing the educational experience.
Chris Lathan, a counselor for San Tan Foothills High School, organized a conference for basketball teams in the area including the Sabercats, Santa Cruz Valley Union High School’s basketball team, Coolidge High School’s squad and others up to Phoenix on Oct. 31 for a conference on how to best present yourself as a student athlete.
Lathan, who has several programs in which he helps students with getting into college, counseling on many levels, and career preparedness whether it’s for college or career, said the conference was designed to show athletes that there is a lot that goes into preparing yourself for college and to be a college athlete.
“I remember when I was in school and a fight broke out and a classmate of mine stepped in when the teacher had briefly left the classroom,” Lathan said. “But when he stepped in it shut the whole thing down. It could have gotten really bad without him.”
And that’s the one thing Lathan a many of the speakers tell the students told the students at the conference and continue to tell the students about. Athletes are natural born leaders and can really be an asset on campus and teach each other to help police themselves if a teacher or administrator leaves for a minute or two.
Lathan is piloting the Attitudes for Athletes program at San Tan Foothills High School but hopes to have a program in place in Coolidge sometime next year.
Among the guest speakers were psychologists, advisors, financial aid professionals and others, on site to talk to the basketball players about preparing themselves for being in high school and being an athlete, life after high school, and little things like filling out a financial aid application.
“The things we think about as second nature really aren’t, “Lathan said. “Whether it’s being eligible to play sports and what that means, to being a good leader, to planning for your future outside of sports, we want to prepare these athletes for everything.”
Lathan is enlisting the help of Jeremiah Johnson, who runs Arizona Knights, a program geared at helping students and athletes with their future.
“We want to make sure that we reach as many students as we can and make sure they are as prepared as they can be for whatever their future holds,” Lathan said. “Whether that’s moving on to play competitive college athletics or preparing for their career, we want to help provide the necessary tools to help them succeed.”
Although the pilot program is in San Tan Valley right now, Lathan wants to expand it to many schools in Pinal County and believes that a lot of them will be on board.