Center of Excellence Update
On Monday, August 18th, the Professional Pathways Center of Excellence opened its doors for the first day of school. Forty-seven students were in attendance and ready to begin a new semester at a new school. The students had their books, lunch boxes, and laptops as usual, but there was a slight difference; they were all dressed in their soccer practice gear. After morning role was taken, the students went out to the practice fields to take part in a morning soccer session. The excitement level of the student athletes was through the roof. Not only were they excited about their first day of school, but on their first morning they were out on the field improving their soccer skills.
After completing the morning field session, the student athletes were taken to the gym to do some stretching and strength work. The level of excitement remained consistent and all of the players were keen to learn the exercises that made up their strength programs. The gym session was followed by a quick shower and lunch, and by the time noon hit, the students were hard at work in the classroom, working individually on their education programs set for them by Florida Virtual School. An afternoon of learning was ended by the school bell, and the students were dismissed for the day.
The Center of Excellence has been in full operation for four weeks now, and everything is going well. The kids have settled into a routine of soccer and strength work in the mornings and schoolwork in the afternoons. A lot of responsibility is placed on the students who attend the COE, and they must be commended on how well they have taken to this new form of schooling. They are responsible for their own progress in the classroom, and have deadlines to meet every week; if they don’t meet those deadlines, they have to miss the soccer session as a punishment. So far there have only been a handful of students that have missed the soccer sessions. Considering the student’s age from 9-14, this is very commendable.
Outside of the classroom, the soccer and strength sessions have been fantastic. Each day the players arrive in the morning ready to roll their sleeves up, work hard, and improve. The players all understand that they have a special opportunity, and intend to take advantage of it.
So far I have nothing but positive things to say about the Center of Excellence. I only wish that I could have had this opportunity when I was a youngster.