• Facebook Twitter

NAIA Champions of Character / SAAB

Women's Soccer Lends a Hand at KIDS Adventure Challenge


women soccer outreach

On Sunday, September 11th the Aquinas women's soccer team volunteered at the KIDS Adventure Challenge in Grand Rapids. The event had over 500 participants, where kids and their parent (two person teams) completed an "Amazing Race" type event at John Ball Park.  Proceeds benefitted the Kids Food Basket. The organizer of the event, Michelle Schieffen, stated that the station the Aquinas student-athletes did was the one event that most participants listed as their favorite.


Aquinas Athletics Lends Helping Hand at "Putt For Life"


Putt for Life

The Student Athlete Advisory Board teamed up with the Athletic Department at the Brian Bush Memorial "Putt For Life" Golf Tournament. Aquinas athletics sponsored a hole, while members of SAAB manned the hole and passed out AQ prizes to all involved. The event, which is in its 24th year, has nearly raised $500,000 for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Event organizers, Michael and Marge Bush, lost their son, Brian in 1989. Brian was an inspiration and leader in the fight against childhood cancers.

Saints Connecting With The Community



The Aquinas Men's Soccer staff organized a camp for San Juan Diego Academy, getting youth soccer players involved with college athletes. The men's soccer coaches, Joe Veal and Brian McKeough, organized a soccer camp for sixty kids from San Juan Diego Academy. Joe and Brian had many current athletes from both the men's and women's soccer teams participate along with several AQ soccer alumni. The kids got to spend the day playing soccer and other games here on campus. They were especially excited about playing on "a real turf field!" Former player and AQ graduate, Ruben Ornelas Luna, spoke to the kids at lunch about the importance of working hard in school. He emphasized remembering their Spanish, but learning English, and doing the right things in life. After the speech, two fourth graders said "I am going to Aquinas for College." The AQ soccer team gave all the kids Aquinas soccer camp t-shirts and even donated soccer balls to San Juan Diego Academy. After the experience, Dan Vaughn said, "I think this was truly a win for Aquinas, a win for San Juan Diego Academy, and a win for the kids. You know things went well when some kids fell asleep on the bus ride home. I congratulate you on the efforts and dedication of your people and your organizations."

Saints That Keep On Giving



The Aquinas College Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) and its intercollegiate athletic programs showed the true meaning of giving over this past holiday season. SAAB director, Crystal Laska, spearheaded the efforts that brought all of Aquinas' athletic programs together to make the holiday season a little merrier for those in need. "The response from the student-athletes was incredible. I feel very fortunate to be able to work along side so many great young people," said Laska. In conjunction with Aquinas' 125,000 Acts of Kindness, the Saints displayed that it is always better to give than receive. The efforts of the department led to these gifts.

* Monetary donation to the Tim Slot Family Fund and the Grand Rapids Veterans Home Christmas Party.

* Barrels of coats and clothing donated to the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.

* Money, toys, clothing, and food donated to Grand Rapids Catholic Social Services for families in need.

* Purchased cribs for families with infants whose baby cribs did not meet new standards thru Grand Rapids Catholic Social Services.

* Salvation Army Angel Tree set up in the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center. Christmas tree gift tags brought toys to children.


Strike-Out Melanoma: "Christy's Cause"



The women's softball games versus UM-Dearborn on Saturday, April 19, honored the memory of former Saint great, Christy Jaklinski-Paganelli. The day reunited the 1994 Aquinas softball family and helped raise awareness against melanoma cancer. Christy lost her battle with the disease on March 9th, 2011, but through this weekends events Christy's family and friends rallied behind her cause. Donations can be made to the Aquinas College Christy Jaklinski-Paganelli Scholarship Fund or the VanAndel Institute for Melanoma Research. “Christy was a leader in the truest sense of the word as well as an outstanding teammate. The commitment of her teammates at Aquinas to remember her as one of the people who makes the world great to live in, is the ultimate tribute one can earn. I am ecstatic that her name will forever be linked with Aquinas softball through this memorial game and scholarship for a current Saint softball student-athlete. I am looking forward to her induction into the Aquinas Athletic Hall of Fame in September, 2012, along with her batterymate, Jodi Borowicz.” comments Athletic Director Terry Bocian.


Five Star Champions of Character: Aquinas College


Champions of Character

Recently, Aquinas College received the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Champions of Character Five Star Institution Award. The Champions of Character “is a nonprofit organization with the mission to change the culture of sport.” This organization, in order to encourage the five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership, has developed a scorecard that measures an institution’s commitment to character in an additional five areas. Colleges who wish to be considered for the award are evaluated in character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition, and character promotion. Each of these areas is awarded points based on varying degrees of importance. Out of a possible 100-point score, any institution that receives 60 points or more becomes one of the Five Star Champions of Character Institutions. 2011 marked the tenth consecutive year the Saints were recognized with this distinction.


Women's Soccer Spreads Some Holiday Cheer


Women's Soccer Sings to Vets

The Aquinas College women's soccer team spent an enjoyable evening on
December 7th providing holiday cheer to the veterans at the Grand Rapids
Veterans home. Fun was had by all and there were plenty of smiles in
the room. This is a project that the team has done in the past to
show their appreciation and respect for those who gave so much for our
freedom that we enjoy today.


Saints Baseball Reads at St. Thomas The Apostle Elementary School


Baseball at St. Thomas

The men's baseball team spent some quality time at our neighbor's, St. Thomas The Apostle Elementary School, reading to various classes and emphasizing the importance of reading and education. Members of the team found it to be a very rewarding experience as they were able to spread knowledge and excitement to a great group of kids. Spreading the message about the power of reading was a fun filled day that everyone enjoyed.


Men's Basketball Participates in "March is Reading Month"


Men's Basketball

The Aquinas College men's basketball team recently participated in the "March is Reading Month" program. Members of the squad visited Northview Elementary and read stories to the students of former Saint, Jeff Wierzbicki. The players agreed that sharing time with the students was both enriching and memorable. Mr. Wierzbicki's class thought it was "pretty cool" to get up close and personal with real college basketball players and of course they all loved the books which were read.


Women's Basketball Participates in the "Pink Zone" Program

Women's BB Team

The Aquinas College women's basketball participated in the "PINK ZONE" program with all proceeds ($1000) going to the Kay Yow Fund for breast cancer research program. This is a national program sponsored by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).      

The festivities kicked off with a women's alumni basketball game. Former players in the program received the opportunity to showcase their skills on "Coach Bo Court" in the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center.

The current Saints then took on Concordia University in their last home game of the season.  Plenty of prizes and activities went on throughout the afternoon. Prizes included Aquinas sports apparel and a pink Ipod shuffle. At half-time of the women's game, there was a recognition and prayer for all those who have been touched by cancer.