by Henry Smith
Since the beginning of the school year, students have observed a new slogan, called “NewStu,” on sweatshirts, on sidelines, in conversation and through hashtags on social media. It’s meant to emphasize positive changes in the football program but is spreading throughout the school.
“‘NewStu’ means not only a change on the field but in all aspects of a student’s life,” Robell Namen, Stuart Freshman Football Coach, said. “It doesn’t mean only a change of culture for football or other sports, but the whole school,” he said.
The slogan started on the football team over the past year as part of Head Coach Clarence Martin’s encouragement to adopt new patterns of discipline, character and work ethic.
Coach Namen said that the concept began as Coach Martin referred to some of the athletes’ bad habits, such as being late, not working hard or misbehaving, as an “OldStu” mindset. “We want to start a culture of “NewStu” where we are supposed to do the right things,” Coach Namen said.
“NewStu” has been adopted by other Stuart sports teams, including baseball, field hockey, and cross country, as well as the Administration and the Hype Squad. The motto may help to help motivate players and improve team performance. It may serve to inspire many students at Stuart to take the opportunity to start fresh with new habits and goals in the new school year.
“We needed a “NewStu” because we needed a culture change,” Coach Namen said. “We needed kids not showing up late to everything, misbehaving and not caring about their grades,” he said. Coach Namen added that the football coaches wanted the attitude change to start with the student-athletes and to “trickle down to the rest of the school.”
Student-athletes have begun to embrace the concept and to strive to live up to its standards. On the football team, it has involved daily mandatory study halls, regular grade reporting and consequences for reports of inappropriate behavior in class. Players wore jerseys to school on the first day and we’re encouraged through frequent text messages to sit in the front of the class and to lead by example with good behavior.
“I would say “NewStu” has helped me to get better grades because I know I can’t play if I don’t have good grades,” said Faisal Abu-Taa, a freshman who is the starting quarterback on the JV football team.
Another student, freshman football player Ryan Burris, said “It’s about being a family and working together, instead of working separately and not achieving our goals.” Burris said he is excited to be part of the changes to the culture.