On Wednesday February 15th, the AthLife Foundation hosted freshmen student athletes from Dieruff High School at Lafayette College. Twelve students were given the opportunity to tour the college, to have dinner on campus, and to attend a Division 1 men’s basketball game. This valuable exposure was aimed at helping student athletes understand and recognize their responsibilities when striving to obtain the ultimate goal of attending college.

At the beginning of the visit, the AthLife Foundation Interns gave the students a tour of the college, which took them to various academic buildings, dining halls, and residence halls. This allowed the students to grasp a better understanding of the college atmosphere. During the tour, the students were made aware of the adjustments needed to be made in order to be successful in college.

After their tour and their dinner in the campus cafeteria, the students attended a panel discussion that consisted of Lafayette Student Athletes from the volleyball, football and tennis teams. This discussion enabled the kids to hear from current college athletes about their experiences and more importantly on what it takes to thrive in both academics and athletics at the collegiate level. One of the topics discussed was the importance of being goal oriented.

Robin Cepeda, a senior football player at Lafayette, explained that a huge part of achieving a goal is falling in love with “the process on the way and dedicating the time to reach it”. He stressed, “Making a habit of the little things is extremely important in order to gain positive results.” Robin made it clear to the high school students that even when times are rough, there is always a chance to achieve a goal.

Draeland James, another football player at Lafayette, continued to discuss his process of training to reach the college level. He made the point to the students, “Never “stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done because there are no shortcuts to success.”  He continued, “hard work does not go unnoticed and will pay off in the future, even if it does not seem that way in the moment.”

After the panel discussion, the students attended a Lafayette Men’s basketball game to see firsthand what it is like to perform as a Division 1 athlete. This entire experience enabled the students the ability to visualize what it would be like to attend a small liberal arts college like Lafayette. The AthLife Foundation hopes that this experience will inspire the Dieruff students to become actively engaged in planning for their futures  and to stay motivated in achieving their goals.