The Saltus Athletics Department have been working diligently over the past several years to develop and support student athletes in all sports. The result of their teamwork and research has led to the formation of the Saltus Elite Athlete Programme (SEAP). Students who are competing at a high level (National) or equivalent and have aspirations to compete in university level sport are eligible to join.
Three years ago, the Saltus Athletics Department at the Senior School level started a soft roll out of the programme with additional phases being introduced each school year. Despite COVID-19 challenges, the 2020-21 school year has seen the launch of the final phase of delivery of the programme. Currently, there are 22 student athletes between Year 10 and SGY2 that are enrolled in the programme. There is no additional cost to be a member, however students need to display a commitment and dedication to their sport and the programme. Students who are eligible to join must meet the following criteria: be a member of a National Programme or equivalent, work towards realizing their full potential in athletics and academics, maintain a grade average that is reflective of the student’s ability, conduct themselves in a manner that meets with the school’s expectations and rules, be respectful to coaches and follow their directions, participate in school sporting events where appropriate, catch up on any schoolwork missed in class and have a signed contract between school, student athlete and parent(s)/guardian(s).
What separates the Saltus Elite Athlete Programme from the standard Physical Education class are these two main components: Support and Development. The support provided to student athletes consists of additional academic support and guidance in balancing the athletic demands of competitive sport; including NCAA registration, SAT/ACT preparation/registration, enrolment in the Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) platform, as well as additional time with the Athletics staff. Students are encouraged to attend overseas identification (ID) camps and college showcase opportunities. Typically, the school hosts an annual US university tour tailored to athletes’ sport requirements, but the students have not been able to travel overseas for university tours since 2019. Instead, the Saltus Athletics Director, Darrin Lewis, has been able to submit game film, video highlights and training videos to schools for evaluation and consideration. In addition, there are a number of SEAP student athletes that are registered for overseas ID camps and showcase opportunities over the next two months.
Development is the second key component of the Saltus Elite Athlete Programme. The development that student athletes are offered includes the opportunity to partner with local sporting bodies and coaches, strength and conditioning, speed and agility, nutrition education and player profile development.
Student athletes and their parents have had several opportunities to join NCSA and NCAA webinars to learn about the eligibility and recruitment process, including an upcoming webinar to learn about the initial-eligibility requirements students must meet in order to study and play sports at an NCAA Division I or II school.
Since the programme’s inception and including this year, Saltus has had three SEAP students pursue sports in university, all obtaining scholarship assistance. This is the first year there has been a four-year SEAP student. Director of Athletics, Darrin Lewis shared, “Bermuda has a tremendous number of talented student athletes and many are not afforded the opportunity to secure scholarships at the university level. Saltus has a steep tradition of developing student athletes as many have competed at the university level and several have gone on to represent Bermuda at the Olympic level. With the introduction of SEAP, we want to ensure we give every student athlete the best chance possible to fulfill their academic and athletic aspirations”. The Saltus Athletics Department look forward to helping increase that number as the programme continues to develop and expand.
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