March 15, 2021 by Jake Bednarski
On February 8th, high school student-athletes living in Hingham tuned into their computers to listen about collegiate sports. The Hingham Sports Partnership (HSP), presided by Bill Crean, put together a panel of collegiate athletes who were also Hingham High School alumni. With Kevin Quilty leading the discussion, the hour and a half conference answered high schooler’s questions that ranged from deciding whether to play sports in college to how to pick the right college program.
HSP selected four current college athletes who played at different level programs to answer student’s questions about the college process, college sports programs, and life as a student-athlete in college. Tom Kornack, a sophomore club hockey player at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Curry Basketball’s junior Ellie Holler, University of Virginia soccer player Kira Maguire, and University of Vermont’s Jake Quilty all shared their high school and college experiences to educate Hingham families. “When most students go through looking as well as attending college they learn so much,” said Kevin Quilty. “You go into the process with some ideas of how it will go and sometimes you are right, and other times you learn as you go.” Quilty also emphasized how the presentation “covered a wide range of topics,” such as managing college workload and practice, picking the right level of athletics, team atmospheres, and other relatable questions many high schoolers have.
“Believe it or not, I like to tell people Zoom is the one positive thing that has come out of this pandemic,” spoke Quilty about the online format of the meeting. “I actually think it might have been impossible to get it done in person,” he added, as he estimates around 200 people watched the presentation.
Tetor Nghiem, a junior at Hingham High School, attended the Zoom meeting and appreciated the information and experiences that were passed on. “Learning about the various aspects of D1, D3, and club gave me a great idea of student life as an athlete in college.” Nghiem gave most of the credit to the collegiate presenters, who were, “well spoken and gave helpful information regarding the workload, stress, and free time,” as well as providing, “different perspectives of each student athlete.” Overall, the program was, “very insightful,” for Nghiem and others as juniors are beginning the collegiate process.
HSP has also considered providing more sports information sessions following the success of the February webinar. The peer experience that this webinar experimented with was thought to have a greater impact on the students. Quilty hinted at, “a short video (5- 10min) of a day in the life of a Hingham grad at college,” in the upcoming months, as well as, “one on one with a specific student at a certain school.” This idea of, “Hingham kids helping Hingham kids,” was very appealing to Quilty and will likely be the basis of future programs from the HSP.
Additionally, Quilty wants to take this idea to the rest of Hingham High School. “I would like to somehow get the school more involved as I feel this type of thing can be a resource for every student, not just athletes,” said Quilty of peer experience presentations. Overall, he was very excited about the success of the night. "I think from my perspective it went as well as I could have hoped.” Although he admits that, “the one pleasant surprise was the college kids jumping at the opportunity to join in,” his one goal for this webinar and others to come is that, “hopefully everyone learned something.”