Former basketball player turning athletes into scholars through Elite Level Prep program

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Carrying life skills from the basketball court to college: a former college athlete has set her sights into turning star athletes into star pupils.

Turning hoop-dream-having athletes into soaring scholars.

"I worked at University of Memphis as an intern for two years as an academic mentor, and I noticed some of the athletes need more guidance academically and personally, so it gave me the idea to start the program," said Elite Level Prep founder Celia Newman.

Newman says Elite Level Prep was born as she traded in her jersey to mold the next generation of athletes and leaders. She starts working with students from middle school through their senior year in high school.

"We currently have 25. We had seven seniors, they all graduated and went to college, so we have a 100 percent success rate right now," said Newman.

Newman started her program in 2015, and while it's centered around athletics, the focus is life-skills development, academics and college prep.

"We have one who made a 30 on his ACT and he got a full $54,000 scholarship to Russ College," added Newman.

The program not only gives students a shot at sports but life after the game.

Life after football or basketball doesn’t always involve a career in the NFL or NB,A so you have to have that back-up plan to succeed in life

Dillon Munn has been with the program since the beginning. He just finished high school, and he has a clear vision for his future thanks to the skills he says he picked up through the program.

"I didn’t have that guidance, and they showed me that guidance that I needed in order to be where I am today," said Munn.

Skills he’ll not only carry on the court but also into life. The program also offers tutoring on its website. The next event will be held on Sept. 16 at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Memphis.