But in addition to all that physical activity, the 18-year-old senior is kicking around ideas behind the scenes in the sports and entertainment management and marketing class. “I thought it would be cool and interesting to get into this class and just ...
ANDERSON — Throughout his years at Liberty Christian’s high school, Joshua Tufts has mastered dribbling balls up and down basketball courts and punted soccer balls into goals.
But in addition to all that physical activity, the 18-year-old senior is kicking around ideas behind the scenes in the sports and entertainment management and marketing class.
“I thought it would be cool and interesting to get into this class and just to know what goes on with promotions in sports,” said Tufts, who is considering studying psychology at Ball State University. “It’s important for every aspect of a business you can run. I think everything we have learned so far is important for the future.”
The sports and entertainment management and marketing class is one of many new options offered by schools throughout the county.
Tufts said he was surprised Liberty Christian offered the class because it sounds higher level.
“For me wanting to go to college, it was a good challenge for something new,” he said.
The school actually is offering two sections of the class with a total of 45 students.
The class is the brainchild of business and information technology teacher Chad Lee, who as a student at Pendleton Heights High School, took a radio class. The experience was so memorable he decided to create something similar for high school students at Liberty Christian.
“I learned so much in that class as far as PR work and talking on the radio and thinking on your feet,” he said.
Lee said he started thinking about and planning for the class last school year.
“We study the marketing principles that transfer into any marketing situation, but we use the medium of sports and entertainment to capture the kids’ attention,” he said.
Students put what they learn in class to practical use by promoting sports and entertainment events.
“They need to know those basics of marketing, then we apply it to real-world situations,” Lee said.
Students learn to develop and distribute press kits, promotional materials and themed fliers for sporting events at the schools, including basketball and soccer for boys and volleyball for girls. They also created a dedicated sports website for the school for which students conduct interviews and write articles.
“At first, they were nervous, but then they’re like ‘Hey, that wasn’t so bad,’” Lee said. “It’s more than just writing articles. They will see different aspects of sports management.”
Superintendent Jay McCurry said about 60 percent of students are involved in sports. But for those who are unable to make the team, the promotional activities allow them to feel like they still are a part of it.
“There are some kids that like sports, but they aren’t necessarily the greatest athletes, but they want to be involved in sports,” he said.
Though few students actually ever would be able to make a living playing on the field or on the court, Lee and McCurry said, many still would have an opportunity to be employed in a sports-related field. The sports marketing class introduces students to those possibilities, they said.
“So many times the students are so focused on the athletic piece of it without realizing in the sports world there are many other jobs available,” McCurry said.
Among the skills the class helps students develop, McCurry said, are leadership and ownership.
“It helps them feel they are contributing to the school,” he said. “From what I have seen of the students, it is forcing them out of their comfort zone.”
McCurry said he hopes that when students are motivated by their elective classes they will be more willing to tackle their less interesting core classes.
“I want to offer classes that motivate students, that students are excited about,” he said. "We’re seeing our interest level go up with our students. We are seeing their grades going up.”
Students, especially at the high school level, have more say in which school they attend. McCurry is trying to make sure that his is the school of choice.
“As we transition into our new building, I don’t want Liberty to look like a traditional school. I want it to be cutting edge,” he said.
Like Tufts, senior Sarah Aikin also is involved in several sports, including softball, volleyball and basketball. But it was other aspects of the class that appealed to the yearbook staffer.
“I also like the whole being able to write,” the 17-year-old said.
Taking the class has influenced her exploration of the possibility of studying either photojournalism or business marketing when she heads off to college next year.
Other new offerings
The sports and entertainment management and marketing class is one way Liberty Christian School is expanding its elective options, most of which are based on current interests of the students. For instance, Superintendent Jay McCurry said the school has about 25 girls studying dance outside of school.
“I know if I offer a dance class, it will be high interest,” he said.
At the fifth- and sixth-grade levels, students are able to study Latin, which McCurry said he hopes will prepare them for other foreign languages and help with language arts on standardized tests.
Also new to Liberty Christian this school year are French, life skills, strength training and conditioning, graphic design, music theory and songwriting.
Next year, McCurry said he hopes to add drama and gaming and animation.
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