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Executing a Vision
Vision Charter continues the long and difficult journey of building a basketball program from the ground up
Published: 1/16/2020 10:14:50 AM
 

Vision Charter’s Kevin Cornwall knows he can’t have a handle on everything. 

But the Golden Eagles head coach can control one thing during his team’s inaugural season.

“You can’t always control the situation,” he said. “You can control how you respond to it.” 

It’s a mantra Cornwall repeats every day in practice to his first-year boys basketball varsity program. And with a chaotic winter underway, it’s become a reality for how the Golden Eagles deal with the trials and tribulations that come with building a program from the ground up. 

In recent years, students at Vision Charter began expressing a desire for sports to be added as an option for extracurricular activities. 

In response to the overwhelming desire for a sports program, the administration began the process for Vision Charter to become a member of the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA). Vision Charter became an associate member of the IHSAA in 2018 and became a full member in 2019. 

With the administrative hurdles out of the way, Vision Charter now faces a host of real-world obstacles in an attempt to create a successful basketball culture. 

The first of these is not having a dedicated facility for practices and games. Currently, Vision is building a gym, but as they wait for completion, they are playing their games at a local middle school and practicing in the school cafeteria. In addition, the school lacks transportation to get all players to games.

“Every single game, we’re faced with challenges like these,” Cornwall said. “Our kids and our community have responded amazingly.” 

And on the hardwood, Cornwall is tasked with managing a team comprised of little basketball experience. The Golden Eagles have notched just one win on the season, a 39-34 overtime nailbiter against Gem State. 

With half the season over, Vision Charter sits at the bottom of the 2A Western Idaho Conference. But despite the rocky start, Cornwall said there’s reason to be encouraged.

“I see improvement each time, which is something that has to happen if we are going to get to where we need to be,” Cornwall said. “We need to be getting better each time we get on the floor and we’re seeing that.”

In terms of support, Vision Charter has already seen the value of adding a sports program. This year’s boys’ basketball team had almost 40 students turn out, significant for a school of its size, and the student-athletes are reaping the benefits.

“It gives them motivation to keep up on their grades,” Cornwall said. “They’re learning about responsibility and commitment, and it’s transferring to their schoolwork and other responsibilities.” 

For senior point guard Eli Blair, the lessons he’s learned go beyond the confines of Vision Charter High School. 

“The basketball program has taught me to slow down and that it’s okay to make mistakes,” Blair said.

Cornwall said the presence of a basketball program is also having a positive effect on the community as a whole. 

“We’ve got an amazing school community, from our administrators to the kids to the parents,” Cornwall said. “All of those stakeholders have really stepped up and embraced our goals in what we’re trying to do and they’re seeing our vision.”

Looking to the future, Cornwall said he’s optimistic about where the program is headed. 

“A lot of our challenges are just going to go away, and in the process, we’re going to build an excellent community and culture within our program,” he said. 

Vision Charter boys basketball program is one of eight programs at the school, including girls basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, cheer and boys and girls swimming.
 


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