Date: September 6, 2006
About: Bruce Douglas - Class of 1982
Character Champions Delivers Positive Message To Athletes
By Steve Eighinger
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Athletics is the platform; a message for life is the goal.
"The magic of it is that if you learn and perfect the message, you will be successful long after your athletic days," said Kirk Frageman, a co-chairman of the Exchange Club's Character Champions program.
Frageman said the program teaches the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, positive attitude and character in everyday life to develop a "truly happy and prosperous person."
The Character Champions program is in its third year of working with area high schools on both sides of the river, singling out athletes and cheerleaders who serve as effective school and community role models.
"These aren't necessarily the star players," Frageman said. "A Character Champion might be the last player on the bench or last runner on the team."
The Character Champions third annual seminar and recognition banquet is from 9 a.m. to noon at John Wood Community College's new Student Activities Center. Former Quincy High School and University of Illinois standout Bruce Douglas will be the guest speaker.
The 2005-06 sportsmanship school of the year will be recognized at the banquet. Liberty High School was the 2004-05 winner.
The Exchange Club awards monthly honors during the school year, culminating with the annual recognition banquet.
"Developing a Character Champions winning attitude explores the importance of a positive, competitive, winning attitude," said Jim Benz, co-chairman of the program and the person who introduced the idea to the Exchange Club. "There is a strong focus on the fact that winners are confident, committed, competitive and character-driven. Emphasis is on the mental approach to the game and competing with character."
Quincy Notre Dame Principal Ray Heilmann is one of the big boosters of the Character Champions concept.
"QND and participating schools are better places because of Character Champions," Heilmann said. "This program has started a strong base for character development, and I'm eager to see it continue."
For information about Character Champions, call Benz at (434-8594) or Frageman at (223-7703).
Contact Staff Writer Steve Eighinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 221-3377.