Mustangs Earn NJCAA Region 19 Champion of Character Institutional Award

Montgomery County Community College was named recipient of the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 19 Champion of Character Institutional Award.

Each year the honor is awarded to an institution that demonstrates clearly outstanding results in character development in its student-athletes and coaches, by embracing the true spirit of competition through the six core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership, sportsmanship and community involvement.

Kelly Donohue, Coordinator of the Physical Education Center and Campus Recreation, partnered up with Jenna Klaus, Assistant Director of Civic and Community Engagement, to nominate the Mustangs for the award.

“The student-athletes got really involved in the community this year,” commented Donohue. “We nominated the Mustangs because we felt that all of the teams went above and beyond in their civic efforts.”

In total the Mustangs completed 921 hours of community service in 21 charitable events in the past year. Student-athletes from each team volunteered with organizations from little leagues to schools to non-profits in order to raise awareness and funds for a number of causes.

The Mustangs men’s basketball team collected more than 700 non-perishable food items for Preston and Steve’s Campout for Hunger campaign in support of Philabundance. Photo by Amanda Rogers

Director of Athletics Bruce Bach was impressed with the level of participation of the student-athletes and coaches in the community service events.

“Our athletic department has three main goals. We want to excel on the field; we want to achieve in the classroom; and we want to build character. This year the Mustangs showed a lot of character on and off the field.”

Building character has been one of the core goals of the Mustangs athletic program since its reinstatement in 2008. Student-engagement is a top priority for Bach, who encourages student-athletes to translate what they learn in their sport into other areas of life.

“Playing a sport isn’t just about the physical, it’s about building leadership and team skills that are going to be essential to success in every facet of life,” said Bach. “Playing a sport at the College enhances each student-athlete’s academic experience and supports their personal development.”

Region 19 Awards Committee Chairperson, Bernard A. Johnson, of Passaic County Community College, commended the Mustangs for winning the award.

“[The award goes to] institutions who value and promote the development of student-athletes beyond competition,” noted Johnson. “I am proud to say that Montgomery County Community College took on the challenge and did an outstanding job of developing their student-athletes beyond the competition arenas and through the 2011-2012 year.”

Danielle Lillo reads to a group children during the Mustangs women’s basketball team visit to a local elementary school. Photo by Amanda Rogers

The Mustangs plan to continue focusing on character development in the years to come.

“The fact is that our student-athletes really enjoy getting involved with the community,” said Bach. “Many of our community service projects stem from a student-athlete’s idea on how the Mustangs can contribute to a cause they really care about.”

This fall the Mustangs soccer teams are planning ‘Kicks for a Cure’ day, while the volleyball team is getting ready for its first annual ‘Women in Red’ tournament. The teams will also be involved in Montgomery County Community College’s Strides for Scholarships 5k event, as well as the 5th annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week food drive.

Bach looks forward to this year as being Mustangs’ greatest year of community engagement yet.

“I am very proud of our coaches and student-athlete for being so civic-minded. They all have so many commitments in their busy lives and I truly feel they are champions of character for making community service a priority.”

For more information about the exciting intercollegiate athletics program at Montgomery County Community College, please visit MustangsAthletics.com.

~ by Amanda Rogers, Sports Information Director

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