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Daily interviews with a local focus airing at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Northland Morning.

Community Connection: Academic Impact of Sports with Sofia Mulholland Cerkvenik

A soccer ball in the grass
Gary Jacobs [via Flickr]

A few years ago, after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship, St. Paul-based educator Sofia Mulholland Cerkvenik headed to Peru to study mission-driven youth sports programs and their correlation to academic and emotional success.

"Sports can teach us so much on a competitive and, truly, a non-competitive level," says Cerkvenik who teaches middle school and coaches soccer, and thus has a front row seat to youth in the classroom and on the playing field. "I have seen across the research I've done... [students who participate in sports] are much more capable of working in different group settings in the classroom."

This summer, Cerkvenik is going back to Peru to continue her research and to check in on the programs and organizations that she'd previously worked with. When considering popular youth programs in the US, Cerkvenik does see a difference from those in Peru. "It does kind of seem like a stand-alone sports effort, not as much an intentional, explicit connection between these sports supporting our students." With additional research, and a newly formed non-profit, Cerkvenik is aiming to make some changes.

Cerkvenik's reports and conclusions will be updated as research continues and can be found online (in Spanish).

You can hear Community Connection every Tuesday and Thursday at 8am on Northland Morning.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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