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Game-Changing Success

How Lathrop High's Student-Athletes Scored 98% Academic Eligibility

Lathrop High Girls Volleyball team 23-24

At Lathrop High School, student-athletes not only compete for wins on the court and the field but also in the classroom – and that competition is paying off. During the Fall 2023 season, 98% of Spartan student-athletes were academically eligible, meaning they qualified to participate in high school sports, and had a combined average GPA of 3.28. According to Executive Director of Secondary Education Clara Schmiedt, that is the highest eligibility rate she has ever seen.

LHS Athletic Director Chuck Selna knows the importance of recognizing both academic and athletic accomplishments. At the end of each season, he awards the team with the highest average GPA with a plaque and photo that will hang outside his office. This season, the plaque was awarded to the Varsity Girls Volleyball team, who finished second in league, with an average GPA of 3.77. “Our kids and coaches make it a competition to earn this award, and it is great to see them compete for it,” said Selna.

Selna was also proud to mention the JV Football team. With every player academically eligible by the midseason grading period (two players were ineligible at the beginning of the year, but improved their grades), the Spartans had their most successful season in school history and finished with a 7-3 record.

Academic achievement is a frequent topic of priority in LHS athletics. “I speak to each team and emphasize that they need to work just as hard in the classroom as they do in practice or competition,” Selna said.

Coaches and staff alike prioritize talking to students about being successful in all aspects of their lives and hold them accountable for their performance in the classroom and on their teams. Family engagement is also critical to student success. Each sports season also begins with a Parent-Athlete Night where all student-athletes and their families receive the same message on the importance of doing their best in the classroom.

With only 2% of the 7.3 million student-athletes in the U.S. receiving an athletic scholarship, Selna knows how important academic success is to a student’s future. “The opportunity to receive a financial scholarship if you earn good grades is much higher,” he said. “Our counselors do a great job of making sure our kids are on the path of taking classes that are A-G approved so if kids have the chance to play at the next level, they are ready to go.”

Prioritizing academic progress and achievement isn’t unique to Lathrop High’s athletic program, the school has completely redefined a school-wide culture where students, teachers, and parents prioritize and share a collective responsibility for a student's growth in the classroom. At Lathrop High, students understand their essential part in their own education and are held accountable. Read more about that shift and their successes, here.

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