Huntington Beach, Calif. - Golden West College's Athletic Department honored its student-athletes on Wednesday, May 9, at the fourth annual Student-Athlete Academic All-Star Awards. The 2017-18 year boasted 135 student All-Stars, the highest number ever. The Awards recognize student-athletes for their many accomplishments, especially in the classroom.
"A very small percentage of athletes end up making a living off of athletics, so what they do in the classroom is critical," said Albert Gasparian, GWC's Athletic Director and Dean of Health Education, Kinesiology, Athletics and School of Nursing. "We need to make sure we change the culture, so student athletes understand what they do in the classroom is more important than what they do on the field, in the gym, or in the pool."
Five years ago, Gasparian worked with Gayle Fenton, Coordinator of Student-Athlete Success, to establish the GWC Student-Athlete Success Center. The Center provides laptops and free printing, as well as mentors who offer assistance, and tutors for math and a variety of subjects. "I really think in the last few years we've been able to make a difference," added Gasparian. "The data is really showing a lot of success for the program and students."
To be considered to be a Student-Athlete Academic All-Star, athletes must have earned a CUM GPA of 3.0 or above, and demonstrated discipline and dedication to their sport and academic education. GWC Football's assistant coach, John Shipp, announced that over 40% of the football program's athletes are Academic All-Stars. This year's record-setting 135 All-Stars makes up an impressive 44% of GWC athletes.
Gasparian also highlighted coach Scott Taylor's recent recognition as GWC's Teacher of the Year, adding, "It's the first time in our college's history that one of our coaches or faculty members in this department received Teacher of the Year." Taylor's coaching helped GWC's Men's Water Polo Team secure back to back championships in 2016 and 2017, as well as a third-place finish in the 2018 CCCAA Swim Championships.
A full gallery of photos from the event can be found at GWCGalley.com