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Central's Student Athlete Leadership Team Bonds Over BBQ

The second Grayslake Central sports kickoff barbecue was a hit with student athletes.

 athletic director Tom Kim recalled how, during his interview process four years ago, he had asked a group of student athletes if they would like to have a greater voice in student athletics. "The overwhelming response was ‘YES!’ "

The result was the Student Athletic Leadership Team.

"Our mission for the Student Athletic Leadership Team is to enhance the overall athletic climate and unify the entire student body," Kim said.

Athletic coaches recommend students to become members of SALT. There are 74 students members this year. "It is a great opportunity for students to be a part of making the best place to be for four years of high school," said Kim.

One of the ways that the Student Athletic Leadership Team does that is by hosting a cookout to kick off the new school year. The event is supported by the school's booster club and members like Don Placko, father of twins who graduated in 2005 and a daughter, Delaney, who graduated in May. He has served on the booster club since 2001. His chef's apron billed him as the Master Griller, and that he was!

Senior Tayler Janda is serving her second year as a SALT member. "I am back again because we just have fun together," she said. "It’s so easy to be a part of this group. Mr. Kim is great. He’s open and easy to talk to. He makes all of us proud to be Rams."

Senior Jake Paust is on his third tour with SALT and enjoys it when all the athletes get together. "I play football when the girls are playing volleyball so it’s great to be able to interact with them at this time and during the year in our meetings," Paust said. "He’s very dedicated to the students and gives all of respect for our opinions. He makes us proud to be Rams. It is so much fun to get a group of guys and girls together to attend another sport like volleyball or basketball and get a bunch of us cheering on our friends and their teammates."

Senior Sarah Kuligowski is back again for a second year. "It’s fun working with athletes from the other sports teams," she said. "There are no hassles being a part of this group. Meetings are before school, so I just have to get up 10-15 minutes earlier than usual. I love making friends with the people involved in SALT. Mr. Kim is great to work with and he has a really good rapport with the students. He always has a smile and a hello in the hallways, and that makes kids feel great to be recognized. He’s very genuine."

Senior Ryan Hamrick is in his second year with the group. "I love working with the administrators and school leaders to advocate for the best environment for student athletes and make it fun for all of us. Mr. Kim does what we need him to do to improve things for student athletes. He’s really down to earth and listens to what we have to say about various issues."

There were smiles and laughter and kids from different sports played baggo, soccer, football, goat rope and other games. Principal Syd Klocke said, "This is going to be the best year ever at !"

HM August 24, 2011 at 03:37 AM
Nice Article, Mike! It's good to hear about the positive things in our schools.
Mike Stickler August 25, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Thanks HM! There are many great things happening in our schools that go unnoticed or taken for granted. There are many positive things happening in the classrooms all over Grayslake the Patch wants to get the word out and make our community aware of these great things which make all of us proud.

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