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Viper Times

Student Run School News Website

Viper Times

Student Run School News Website

Viper Times

The Power of Accountability: Nurturing Responsible Students

Courtesy of Dustin Johnson
Verrado Football Team, some of the biggest role models on the campus.

High school is known as a critical period that helps to shape students’ aspirations and character development, so many parents and students rightfully have their concerns at times. At Verrado High School, accountability is prioritized to create an environment where students can thrive academically and personally.

Accountability plays a pivotal role in personal growth, character development, and academic success. By fostering a sense of responsibility, we empower students to be positive contributors to society and prepare them for the real world.

In the realm of student-athletes, accountability holds a special significance as they serve as exemplary role models. Verrado’s Head Football Coach Dustin Johnson emphasizes the importance of setting high expectations for athletes. He states, “Plain and simple, it’s an expectation. Athletes are and should be expected to hold themselves to a high standard.”

Coach Johnson is also a firm believer in imparting crucial life lessons through sports. He acknowledges that sports can teach valuable qualities such as good character and work ethic. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of guiding student-athletes beyond the field.

The VIper Football team practicing the art of signing a signature, an important life lesson. (Courtesy of Dustin Johnson)

To further enhance their personal growth, Coach Johnson has implemented a segment called “Making a Man Monday.” During this dedicated time, he focuses on teaching skills that extend beyond football and can benefit athletes in their everyday lives. Examples of these teachings include proper handshake etiquette, interview techniques, and the art of signing one’s name.

By instilling these values in student-athletes, they can better comprehend the consequences of their behavior and strive to set a positive example both on and off the field.

The actions of student-athletes can possess the power to shape the attitudes and behaviors of their fellow Vipers. Student athletes are admired by many, their accomplishments, dedication, and skills make them influential figures on campuses and within communities. Consequently, it becomes crucial to hold these athletes accountable for their actions.

In addition to promoting accountability among student-athletes, they can also serve as a valuable source of mentorship for students who may be struggling with discipline issues or facing challenges in their lives. Student-athletes can help to provide a supportive and structured environment where athletes can learn important life skills such as self-discipline, teamwork, and resilience.

Through shared experiences and a sense of companionship, more experienced players can take on mentorship roles, offering guidance, encouragement, and positive role modeling to their teammates. This mentorship extends beyond the football field, helping students develop a sense of belonging, self-confidence, and personal growth.

By fostering a culture of mentorship, student-athletes create an environment that not only promotes individual development but also strengthens overall team dynamics, ultimately leading to more cohesive and successful teams and people.

Coach Johnson holding his “War of The White Tanks” trophy after taking down Canyon View High School 35-21 (Courtesy of Dustin Johnson)

When questioned on how he ensures accountability among his athletes, Coach Johnson confidently states, “Persistence. Myself and our staff don’t let things go. The real world is around the corner, and if an athlete gets special treatment because they’re fast or can catch well we are doing a disservice. The real world does not care how fast you are or how well you catch a ball. They do care if you show up on time, work hard, are not a distraction, or do anything for the betterment of their environment.”

Setting high behavioral expectations for student-athletes not only encourages positive role modeling and personal growth but also underscores the importance of pride.

Assistant Principal Garrett Maier explains, “When we look at the behavioral expectations of athletes here at Verrado, it really comes down to one word that I like to use a lot, which is pride. Do you take pride in wearing our colors? Do you take pride in wearing our logo? And how do you show that through what you’re doing day to day?”

One of the biggest things student-athletes could do as mentors, leaders, and faces of the school is simply to support the school itself. What that partially means is to follow the school’s rules, wear your school gear, and try to have school spirit, but it’s also much deeper than that.

During a recent interview with The Viper Times, starting Varsity Quarterback Chase Gieszler emphasized the importance of student-athletes supporting their school and contributing to the community.

He stated, “The team as a whole brings many positives to people at school and in our community. The team is full of individuals that work hard and are always filling a need where they see one. The team brings people together in many ways such as fundraisers, community events, and even football games.”

Student-athletes play a crucial role in promoting unity, school spirit, and making a positive impact on both their school and the local community. At Verrado, we aim to create a safe and connected community, almost like a family. It’s crucial to be attentive and respectful toward others, but one aspect that often goes unnoticed is the importance of collaboration, which Verrado excels at.

Assistant Principal Maier emphasizes the strength of collaboration among our student-athletes, saying: “I would say they’re best prepared on the collaboration side. Whether it’s a team sport or an individual sport, there are people around you who are working toward a similar goal, and the work ethic that it takes to be a part of a team along with the skills to communicate with a team member or coach really goes a long way to prepare kids for college and the next step.”

With such strong support from their peers, it should be effortless for student-athletes to return the favor by being supportive, caring, and inspiring to their fellow students and the younger generation in our community. And according to Chase Gieszler, him and the team do just that.

Being a role model and leader is a big part of being on Verrado’s football team, Chase gave this example, stating “I believe being a good role model has a lot to do with doing the little things. Some of those little things consist of showing up to class on time, staying on task, being kind to everyone, and never being a disruption to people around me. Leading by example is one of the best ways to contribute to being a leader.”

Holding students accountable is a powerful tool for nurturing responsible individuals. By emphasizing the importance of accountability, we foster personal growth, resilience, and ethical development.

Overall, accountability plays a crucial role in shaping the attitudes and behaviors of student-athletes, empowering them to be responsible individuals, and fostering personal and academic success. It contributes to a positive and respectful learning environment, prepares students for future responsibilities, and should be heavily acknowledged in all schools.

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