The Indianapolis Recruiting Battalion partnered with the Black Coaches and Administrators to host events at two area high schools this fall.

During the first event at Lawrence Central High School, students learned about leadership from Butler University and Washington Wizards star basketball player Shelvin Mack. Mack, who was not highly recruited coming out of high school, helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship games.

At the second event, which was held at Fall Creek Academy, students learned about the importance of exercise and nutrition.

At both presentations, Mack stressed the importance of academics to students and explained in depth what it means to be a student-athlete and how others look to him to be a leader both on and off the court. Mack also warned students about their postings on social networking sites.

"You have to watch what you post on Facebook and Twitter," he said. "You never know who is looking at those sites. You don't want to have posts or photos that you would not want a prospective employer or a college admissions adviser to see."

Mack told students that he posts one thing on his Twitter account every day: "Stay positive."

"Every day is a blessing to me," Mack said. "I try to keep a positive attitude all the time because that inspires me to work hard."

And Mack must continue to work hard, despite the NBA lockout.

"I have to be ready to return to Washington and be in shape for practice whenever they call me," he said. "There's no break. I'm putting in practice time every day. It's kind of rough, but you learn from the rough times."

Mack said he works out twice a day, including shooting 300 to 500 jump shots daily.

He also offered an ear and a shoulder to the students.

"Some of you may be afraid to talk to teachers or to ask them questions. So, come talk to me after this event. I will try to lead you in the right direction," Mack said.

Lawrence Central students also heard from an alumnus, Metro North Recruiting Company Commander Capt. Kenneth Johnson, who graduated in 2001 and accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Johnson, who received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and a Purple Heart, talked about being a leader on the battlefield at both high schools.

"Who would have thought that my time in Afghanistan would be one of the best experiences of my life?" Johnson asked. It was tough, and it was uncomfortable. But sometimes you have to be uncomfortable so you can grow."

The Fall Creek Academy students learned about the importance of eating right from Maj. Nichelle Johnson, the chief of the Nutrition Care Division at Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox, Ky.

Nichelle Johnson explained that the food guide pyramid was changing to the nutrition plate; the new image from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows a plate divided by the basic food groups of fruit, grains, vegetables, and protein, with a glass of dairy sitting next to the plate. Fruits and vegetables make up half the plate, with a fourth of the plate for grains and a fourth for protein.

She also told students that when she enrolled at the University of Florida, her goal was to be a pharmacist like her father.

"But goals change, and I changed my goal to be a dietician," Nichelle Johnson said.

She had a prescription for Fall Creek students, however.

"Nutrition plus activity is a prescription for your life," she said

Page last updated Fri October 28th, 2011 at 15:44