Behind the exuberance of students’ achievements in sports — such as Fairmont Prep’s Michelle Lee finishing eighth at the CIF State Diving Championship and earning All-American honors from USA Diving — is the responsibility of maintaining a strong GPA. Balancing heavy coursework with practice and game schedules requires as much discipline and concentration as executing a dive with a reverse 1 1/2-somersault-tuck off of a 1-meter board.

Fairmont Prep’s faculty and staff members understand the importance of seeing members of their sports teams as “students first and athletes second.” Consistent communication among parents, teachers, and coaches ensures that students receive a strong support base for managing the rigors of coursework and sports. As a result of this close collaboration, five Fairmont Prep teams are ranked in the CIF’s top 10 Southern California teams with the highest GPA scores.

Coaches dedicate time to building relationships with the student-athletes to understand fully and appreciate their academic goals and abilities. Regularly meeting with teachers during the season enables coaches to understand the student-athletes’ overall workloads. It’s not uncommon during practice for a coach to offer team members encouragement before tests or to make sure they have finished their work for class projects. Knowing their coaches stand with them in their academic pursuits instills a clear sense of motivation to apply the same level of sports discipline in the classroom.

Fairmont’s academic counselors provide another layer of support for student-athletes. The student-to-college-counselor ratio at Fairmont Preparatory Academy is 44:1. The national average is 477:1, and the state average is 945:1. With this high level of support, student-athletes excel in academics, play multiple varsity sports, and participate in clubs and ASB. They even have opportunities to engage in robotics, science, and debate competitions along with performing arts and visual arts productions.

During the various sports seasons, teachers widen their schedules for one-on-one meetings with the student-athletes to provide the support necessary to fulfill their academic responsibilities. By working together, coaches, teachers, counselors, and parents make sure student-athletes maintain healthy balances of academics and sports. This high level of engagement and commitment to students’ well-being distinguishes Fairmont Prep’s close-knit community from other high schools.