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A Leader On and Off the Court
December 7, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
While K-State women's basketball senior Chantay Caron is looked to as a team leader to her young teammates on the court, off the court she is an example to be followed as well.
Caron, an elementary education major, has a knack for making people smile - it's just something she likes to do. Whether it's giving back to the community, representing her team as a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) leader or helping teach students in the classroom, her ability to positively impact others has not gone unnoticed.
On Tuesday, Caron was nominated for the 2014 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team, an award that recognizes a select group of college basketball student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the greater good of their communities through volunteerism and civic service.
"Once I read about what it was all about, I thought it was pretty awesome," Caron said about the nomination. "I have a great coach, and she teaches us how to be a woman first, to take care of the things we need to take care of both outside of the court and on the court as well. So I think she helped build me up for it."
While Caron may have modestly given head coach Deb Patterson the credit, Patterson said it was not surprised Caron was chosen for the nomination.
"Chantay is very fitting for that recognition. She's someone that is extremely good at reaching out to others. She likes being involved in SAAC, she likes helping people, she has a heart and sensitivity towards others, she has a passion to lead and she's going to be a great teacher," Patterson said. "She's very good with kids and she's got a strong personality. It's really neat to see her in her senior year to come as far as she has in those areas. She's willing to be verbal on a team that tends to be very quiet. She's just a do-gooder."
Caron has taken part in numerous activities during her time at K-State, which includes a range of volunteer work from helping out families on Fort Riley to working with the Special Olympics to helping organize Cats for Cans.
As the women's basketball team's SAAC representative, Caron was also K-State Athletics' representative at the Big 12 Leadership Summit in Dallas last summer.
"I would say I enjoy it a lot because I love helping other people," Caron said when asked if volunteering was something she enjoyed. "Just seeing other people smile and seeing them happy, it's the best. That's probably why I went into education so I could help kids and put a smile on their face."
Caron knew exactly what she wanted to do when she came in to K-State. Though her freshman year her academic advisors said it wasn't uncommon for students to change their major three times, she knew elementary education was the path for her.
"And I haven't changed it once," She laughed.
Last year, Caron was recognized for her success in the classroom earning a spot on the 2013 Academic All-Big 12 First Team. She is a three-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll recipient, and though juggling the busy life of being both a student and an athlete hasn't always been easy, it's something she has learned to balance.
"When you first get here, you think, 'There's no way,' but now, I'm in my last block, and even though they told me, 'This is going to be the hardest block you're in,' it's going great," Caron said. "The semester is almost over, and I've got all A's right now. So that's perfect, and then I'm doing well here (on the court), so things are going great right now."
Perhaps the definition of a well-rounded student-athlete, Caron credits her ability to succeed in the classroom, on the court and in the community to the environment provided to student-athletes at K-State.
"It really helps keep my head on straight," Caron said. "Being here has helped me see that, not only am I an athlete and everything I do is watched, but also that my grades are important and the work ethic that I put into basketball has to be the same that I put into the classroom, because without that I'm nothing."
Caron is one of 84 women's basketball student-athletes from the NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA level to be nominated for the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team. The final 10-member roster of award recipients will be announced in February.
You can catch Caron and the K-State women's basketball team on the court as the Wildcats will return to Bramlage Coliseum this afternoon to take on Grambling State. The game tips off at 2 p.m., and will be aired on FOX College Sports with live audio feed on www.kstatesports.com.