The standard is the standard

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Here at North Idaho College one of the many areas in which we take great pride is our athletic programs. Year after year, our programs are some of the most highly decorated in the region.

Mike Tomlin, the Super Bowl winning head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League is often quoted as saying, "The standard is the standard." I often wonder what does he means by that. Tomlin says the standard is nothing short of total excellence and effort and sacrifice of self for the express goal (in the Steelers' case) of winning a world championship. His organization has met that standard six times in their history; more than any other team in modern NFL history. The standard is the standard.

We here at North Idaho College approach athletics with the same mindset: The standard is the standard. The "standard" at North Idaho College is nothing short of total excellence in competition, classroom and our community.

This year is no exception. I was thrilled to learn that our women's volleyball team was chosen as the Collegiate Women's team of the Year at the 50th North Idaho Sports Banquet.

The 9th place national finish by Women's Volleyball is the latest in a long and prestigious list of excellence by our student athletes.

North Idaho College boasts fifteen national championships in three different sports, numerous All-Americans and individual champions.

And while we always celebrate their accomplishments on the field, court or mat, we are equally if not more so, proud of their contributions to our community and in the classroom. All three elements: Excellence in the classroom, community and court, are the standard.

North Idaho College student athletes are some of our best students on campus. On average, student athletes carry a heavier credit load, have a higher grade point average than our student body at large and graduate or complete in a shorter time frame. Six of our nine teams in this current school year are on the academic honor roll. Excellence. The standard is the standard.

Perhaps most impressive is the volunteer work our student athletes do in our community. NIC student athletes volunteer their time with Special Olympics of Idaho, Boys and Girls Club, Priest River Animal Rescue, Kootenai Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, Community Action Partnership Food Bank, Freedom House, Community Roots Garden, St. Vincent de Paul and Art on the Edge. We partner with a number of regional charities to raise funds and spread awareness for such great causes as: The Autism Awareness Walk, the Susan B. Komen Foundation, We Care Cancer Research Support, Side-Out America, Coeur d'Alene Press Christmas for All, Read Across American and the Shirley Parker Reading Program.

Just a note on the Shirley Parker Reading Program; NIC Wrestlers read to first graders throughout the area and they recently read their 7,000th book! Head Coach Pat Whitcomb told attendees at a recent Coeur d'Alene Chamber Upbeat Breakfast that when his wrestlers come to campus they will almost always wrestle hard due to competition. Those same wrestlers, Pat says, will wrestle even harder for a coach they admire and respect, but when they are connected to their community they realize that they are part of something much bigger and they are nearly unstoppable!

Excellence doesn't just happen. Excellence is earned. And at North Idaho College our student athletes demonstrate excellence in all they do; competition, academics and community.

The standard is the standard.

Priscilla Bell is the president of North Idaho College. Comments on this column or any other can be submitted by emailing: PresidentsColumn@NIC.EDU.

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