Planning is a part of life, especially for high school seniors looking toward the future. Putting a plan in place can be a challenge for many, but the Zanesville High School football program is lending a hand to its players.
Head coach Chad Grandstaff came up with the Life Plan Program.
The goal is simple:
“assist student athletes in developing a plan after they graduate from high school.”
“Ages 18 to 24 can be a time where you can get in trouble or spin your wheels,” said Grandstaff, a Zanesville graduate. “We want our kids to know what they are doing so they aren’t in that situation.”
The program started in 2008, and this year’s (Class of 2012) 19 seniors were the first to complete the entire process. All 19 will attend college, with seven continuing their football careers. Five will attend college despite both parents not having above an eighth-grade education. Seven finished with a 3.5 or better grade-point average, and three scored 30 or better on the ACT.
The coaches have helped former players find jobs or enter the military in previous years and the Zanesville Quarterback Club has provided the Blue Devils with a full-time recruiting coordinator and academic adviser in Randy Buckley, also an assistant football coach.
All those parts have come together to make Zanesville one of the few schools in the state to have this type of program. “This is a big undertaking. We are one of around 10 schools in the state to take it to this extreme,” Grandstaff said. “We want to give the kids the opportunity, but it’s still up to the kids to take advantage of it.”
Players enter the program as freshmen, when Buckley discusses the importance of transcripts, class schedules and grades. During the year, the staff brings in guest speakers from colleges, trade schools, the military and the work force to talk to the players, while also checking players’ grades, scheduling ACT tests and college visits, and sending film to college coaches.
“We want them to understand how critical all this is,” Buckley said. “We give them a realistic expectation of where and what level they can play football at, as well as make sure they can get as much financial aid as possible.”
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