It's been written in this popcorn stand before that the definition of a student-athlete can vary.
To some, a student-athlete could be a football player who a coach occassionally allows to leave practice to attend class. To others, a student-athlete could be a chemistry major who just happens to play on the tennis team.
Evidently, Carson High takes the term student-athlete seriously in which student does indeed come before athlete in that term. For Carson has won six state titles already through the fall and winter sports seasons where it counts the most: In the classroom.
Carson has won six state academic titles so far this year, meaning that six Senator athletic teams have had higher cumulative grade point averages than any other team in the state.
During the winter sports season, Carson's boys and girls basketball teams and girls skiing teams won state academic titles. The girls skiing team had a 3.79 grade point average, with six athletes on that club carrying a 4.0 G.P.A.
The girls basketball team had a 3.70 G.P.A. and the boys basketball team had a 3.59 G.P.A.
It can't be said that the Senators are sacrificing success in competition for the classroom. The boys basketball team won the Sierra League title with an 11-1 mark. In addition, Vince Inglima was named as the league's Player of the Year and Bruce Barnes was named as the Coach of the Year.
Meanwhile, the girls basketball team made the state final four and the girls skiing team finished second in the state.
This all adds up to Carson being in the running to win the State Farm Excellence Award on the 4A level, which is given to the top athletic program in the state.
Schools are judged in three areas: Citizenship, athletics and acadmics. Citizenship scores are figured at the end of the school year.
After the fall and winter sports seasons, it appears that Galena and Carson are in a neck-in-neck race for the State Farm Excellence Award. Galena is in first with 1,690 points while Carson right behind in second at 1,680. The next closest school is 150 points behind the Senators.
Carson principal Glen Adair said the standings demonstrate that Galena and his school are doing what they're supposed to do.
"We're real pleased with Galena," Adair said. "I'm real happy for them.
"I'm really pleased to hear that Galena's doing well. We just try to be among the best."
As far as his school, Adair said Carson has won more state academic titles than any other school since the inception of the award. The school now has more than 40 state academic titles and averages five to eight a year, Adair said.
"They're doing really well," said Adair about the students. "Academics is the reason why we open schools.
"Our kids respond not so much to higher requirements, but higher expectations. I'm real proud of them, every one of them."
Adair also said if students are told, "it's O.K. to be mediocre, then that's exactly what you get."
Adair said one key is to make the curriculum "relevant to their future needs" when talking about the students.
Adair said that has led to the school having one of the highest graduation rate and the lowest dropout rate in the state, which isn't always the case with a large school such as Carson.
"I've been real proud to the way the school has responded to its growth," Adair said.
He said another key is the coaches have to buy into the program. "I'm real proud that the coaches strive for that," said Adair about the coaches stressing academics.
But it eventually all comes down to the students, Adair said. "They have to agree to do well," he said.
Another key is the students' grades are checked regularly, Adair said.
"We insist that kids keep their grades up and we check all the time," he said.
By the way, a student doesn't have to be an athlete at Carson to earn a letter. Academic letters are also awarded to students who achieve in the classroom.
Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.