NEW LONDON, Conn.--180 student-athletes and 20 athletic administrators from the member schools of the Eastern Connecticut Conference (ECC) attended the Annual ECC Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday at the Port 'n' Starboard Restaurant at Ocean Beach in New London. The annual event features guest speakers and workshops that foster skills in leadership development, positive decision making and interpersonal communication.
Wheeler High School Director of Athletics Ellen Turner served as the chairperson and moderator of the event. Each of the ECC schools brought ten student-athletes from the graduating class of 2014, who were identified by their coaches as exceptional leaders, to take part in the luncheon. Turner put together a stellar lineup of former ECC athletes who are now current high school and collegiate coaches. This year's panel was comprised of Waterford High School grad Kerrianne Dugan, Wheeler High School grad Keyokah Mars-Garrick and Norwich Free Academy grad Mark Jones. The three speakers shared their experience as former ECC and collegiate athletes and along with Turner, engaged and challenged their audience in a spirited conversation dealing with real-life situations that the student-athletes may face as captains and leaders of their teams.
The three guest speakers all followed up their successful high school careers by playing basketball at the Division I level. Dugan went on to star at Central Connecticut State University and is now the Head Girls' Basketball Coach at New London High School.
Mars-Garrick continued her successful career at the University of Hartford and currently serves as an Assistant Women's Basketball Coach at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Jones was a standout on the hardwood at the University of Dayton and just completed his first year as the Head Boys' Basketball Coach at St. Bernard High School.
Throughout the workshop Turner presented willing participants with door prizes for sharing their thoughts on leadership or answering trivia questions. At the conclusion of the event the student-athletes were treated to a catered lunch provided by the Port 'n' Starboard. Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London was the presenting sponsor for this year's luncheon.
When asked if she thought the event was a success Turner commented "As a league and as athletic administrators we are constantly trying to encourage our student-athletes to become positive team leaders who can guide their peers and serve as role models. This workshop provides an opportunity for them to foster the skills necessary to become effective leaders. It's always great to see rivals on the field interacting positively and collaborating with one another at the leadership luncheon."