Trinity Athletes Conduct Leadership Workshop

Alexis Knake ’19 (Cissna Park, Illinois) and Breanna Toppen ’20 (DeMotte, Indiana),  two members of Trinity’s Athletics Leadership Program for Student-Athletes (ALPS), had the opportunity to utilize their training and skills at a high school leadership conference at Lowell High School in Indiana.  These two student-athletes, who are captains on the women’s basketball team, conducted a segment of the summit that brought together nearly 70 high school students from the six schools of the Northwest Crossroads Conference.

Focusing on the theme “Real Leaders are Real Sports”, Knake and Toppen, along with ALPS director Brittany Lee, led activities and discussions that delved into how leadership and sportsmanship go together.  They interacted with the high school students and presented activities and scenarios that were designed to get the student-athletes to collaborate on what sportsmanship looks like in different situations, how words and actions affect others, and what qualities make a positive leader.

“It was good to be able to use some of our ALPS training and work with the high school athletes,” said Knake. “I enjoyed being on the leadership side of things and being able to help develop these younger potential leaders.”

One of the activities led by the pair of ALPS leaders was the Apple Pass which demonstrated how the harmful effects of disrespectful words and actions.  The dents and bruises evident on an apple that was dropped each time it was passed from person to person represented the “damage” done with hurtful words.  Another activity included Red Light/Green Light scenarios in which the participants acted out good and bad sportsmanship in specific situations.  

In thinking about leadership, the high school students were asked to choose a picture from a group of random photos and to discuss with others how it represented leadership to them. Working in groups, they also used sticky notes to share ideas about the quality of a positive leader to create leadership posters.   

During the activities, Knake and Toppen encouraged discussion, pushed the students to develop deeper answers or thoughts, and shared some of their experiences. The two female ALPS leaders were very pleased with how the student-athletes engaged with them, how responsive they were to the activities and ideas presented, and the respect they showed.

“I attended this conference as a high school student and now it was fun to be a part of it from a different perspective,” said Toppen. “It was good to be able to give back as a leader and to put into practice some of the things I have learned throughout the years.”