You’re young. You go to school, you study, you do your homework, and you pass your exams. You play extracurricular sport, and show talent. The hours of training start to increase, as does your schoolwork and the demand from both areas. You want to be a good student, but you also want to be an elite athlete, so you’ll have choose one. Or maybe not?
Since it opened more than 15 years ago, Agora Lledó International School has been developing the Adaptations for Athletes programme. The mission of this project is to help pupils to combine their academic studies with their participation in professional sport, so that they can continue with the two areas and achieve high performance in both.
Each case is dealt with individually. Each pupil is assigned a tutor who, along with the family, adapts and co-ordinates the academic assignments, exams, timetables, and holidays to fit in with the demands of each pupil’s sport.
“The validation of certain subjects provides me with valuable time which I dedicate to the studying and homework that I can’t do at home given that in the evenings I train for 3 to 4 hours a day”, highlights Alejandro Rovatti, a pupil at the school and high-level swimmer, who adds that “when a competition coincides with an exam, the teachers are happy to bring forward or postpone the exams so that I can organise my time better and study to achieve good academic results, as well as concentrate on the competition”.
For Pablo Domínguez, who has been in the Adaptations for Athletes programme for eight years as a long-distance runner, the way the programme adapts to suit each academic stage has been vital. In his case, Secondary Education subjects were validated, and in Baccalaureate he was exempt from homework. As a result, he was able to take advantage of his time to study the exam topics.
The great flexibility of the programme and full willingness of the teaching staff to help and evaluate the pupils outside of standard teaching times are the fundamental aspects which guarantee the students’ academic and sporting success. Pupil and golfer Patricia Martín expresses her appreciation for all the help she received over several years from the school and teachers, “postponing exams, explaining to me what they were doing in class while I was at a championship and making sure I was able to take advantage of my free time to get ahead with my schoolwork”, which has enabled her to achieve good grades and continue playing golf.
Gymnast Paula Reyes, Spanish champion, former pupil of Agora Lledó, and current Medicine student at the University of Valencia, expresses similar feelings. For her, being where she is today “wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the school”, given that as well as the help offered to the sportspeople on the Adaptations for Athletes programme, she was also able to use the school’s facilities to train when she had free time.
The Adaptations for Athletes programme has been a priority at Agora Lledó International School since it opened. Among the sportspeople who have been able to benefit from the programme over the years there are first division football players, members of the Spanish squash team, gymnasts who compete in both rhythmic gymnastics Spanish Championships and in the Queen’s Cup, and yachtsmen and women, as well as others. One standout example is golfer Sergio Garcia from Castellón, who is a former pupil of the Cooperativa Rey Don Jaime whose teachers went on to found Agora Lledó International School, and is the recent winner of the Masters of Augusta 2017 and one of the best golfers in the world.
Agora Lledó International School’s desire to help its pupils to combine their studies with other demands is not limited just to the Adaptations for Athletes programme. Given their status as a school which is integrated with the Music Conservatoire, there is also an Adaptations for Musicians programme so that the pupils can find the balance between their academic life and professional music.