I first came to Sunrise in the fall of 1994. Since then I have had the pleasure of teaching many players of the Sunrise Christian Hoops program. "It is my great joy as a teacher to guide and train students to realize their potential and achieve their goals and dreams."
Some of them have found the level of academic expectations at Sunrise to be quite challenging, but I have been blessed to watch many young men achieve great success in the classroom as well as on the court.
““Travis Munnings is probably the hardest working student I have ever had in class.” - Mr. Whitt.
Travis came from the Bahamas with underdeveloped reading and comprehension. In Spanish class he made it a point to sit in the front row to stay focused during each day’s lesson.
As I recall, Travis scored 10% on the first exam. As an educator I must admit, I was worried. I did commended him for his efforts, as I knew he had invested a lot of time to learning. Each successive assignment, quiz, and test I saw improvement. I encouraged Travis to continue learning no matter the price and that God would reward him. Travis always gave his very best in the classroom.
I will always remember handing back his final exam with a 100% written in large letters. He is an exemplary man who demonstrates to others what is possible if they apply themselves. In every area of life, Travis is never willing to give anything less than his best.
I lost my own son in a car accident right at the end of his senior year in high school. I feel like I gain a new son every year by house parenting boarding school players. I like baking them fresh cookies, making birthday cakes on their birthday, and celebrating holidays together.
A few of these young men have come from single parent homes. I have a unique opportunity to be a dad to many of these young men.
“I have a unique opportunity to be a dad to many of these young men.” - Mr. Whitt.
I stay in touch with many former players. Khaleem Bennett, is one of whose players. He lived with me for two years along with two other young men from the Toronto area. During those 2 years, we developed a great relationship. Basketball was his main priority, but Khaleem was very intentional in seeking out a true high school experience at Sunrise Christian Academy. Khaleem was very involved in the performing arts, track and field, and Prom at an area high school.
Khaleem got a full ride to Central Arkansas. He started a Bible study there. He is always the first person to contact me on Christmas, Easter and Father’s Day. I am so blessed that he thinks of me as a father and I am proud to claim him as a son.
The Sunrise Elite program has achieved success on and off the court in large part because of the culture the program and the academy.
"When a player joins the Elite team, they realize that they are in a place that is just as concerned about them as a person and know they are in a place where they are loved and cared for."
I celebrate every player's athletic success, but also their academic and spiritual development.
"Sunrise Christian Hoops is unlike any program in the country because it is serving a greater purpose than money or glorification of self." - Coach Barnwell
This post was made possible by the generous contribution of Mr. Brian Whittemore.
"We couldn't do it without you."