Wayland High School Athletic Director Justice Smith is proud of his first group of student athletes to complete the Captains' Corner program. He knows it was no easy task.
In September, the captains of all athletic teams were invited to attend the newly formed Captains' Corner program. Completing the program required them to meet about twice a month at 7 a.m. -- and attend classes; complete homework; lead their teams; and, since many of the participants were seniors, prepare for their next steps after graduating for Wayland High School.
"The workload is a lot," Smith admitted. Still, the program was successful enough that he hopes to make it a requirement going forward.
Smith started the Captains' Corner program during the 2011-2012 school year after finding documents in the athletic office about a similar type of program that he believes his predecessor started.
Captains' Corner participant Riley Starr, a baseball and skiing captain, said the program helped him learn how to be a good captain.
"No matter how hard it gets on the field, try to stay upbeat," Starr said.
Smith, who also serves as the athletic director for Wayland Middle School, explained that the program focused on three areas: personally being a good leader, handling team dynamics and relating to the community.
"It comes down to leadership," Smith said. "It's not just being a captain."
Basketball and field hockey captain Bailey McAfee agreed that being a good captain meant being a good leader so that she could "deal with problems on the team."
Over the course of the year, Captains' Corner participants drafted "The Wayland Way Philosophy" that "provides a path of optimal growth for the Wayland student athlete."
The five points of "The Wayland Way Philosophy" are achievement ("We finish what we started"); respect ("our teammates and coaches at all costs"); prepare ("for all upcoming challenges"); champion as a "person who helps another"; and integrity ("Honor the W as if someone is watching us at all times").
"They learned a lot," Smith said. "And bits and pieces are going to be helpful going forward. We're trying to build strong leaders."
Katie Terranova, a captain on the girls' basketball and lacrosse teams, said that being a captain revealed to her a lot of the "behind-the-scenes" work captains do that often goes unnoticed by underclassmen.
Jessica Greenwood said that the Captains' Corner group offered a place for captains to gather and provide counsel and support for one another as they dealt with the various issues that can arise on teams.
"It was a good place for the captains to come together," said Greenwood, an ice hockey and lacrosse captain.
For junior volleyball captains Emily Van Mulbregt and Olivia Shaw, just being captains offered opportunities to help out.
Much of what it takes to be a good captain, "you can learn by doing," Shaw said. Still, she said she appreciated the chance to work through issues with the other Captains' Corner participants and through that build a better team.
Captains' Corner participants who completed the program include Greenwood, Starr, McAfee, Terranova, Van Mulbregt, Shaw, Doug Lyons, Olivia Lucier and Hannah Brigham.
Editor's Note: The punctuation of "Captains' Corner" has been changed from the original article in order to indicate a plural.