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Duke Leadership: Student-Athlete of the Month
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/30/2009
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Tradelle Ward
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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DURHAM, N.C.Tradelle Ward, a senior on the men’s cross country and track & field teams, has been involved in the Duke Leadership program since the inception. One of the first Upperclass mentors to be selected in the pilot year, Ward has stayed loyal to his commitment and worked with first year student-athletes the past three years. Most recently, Ward inquired about involvement in SAAC and now serves as one of the track reps on that board as well. As a result of his leadership and experience, Tradelle was asked to speak to new first year parents at the Student Athlete Parent Orientation in August. The time and energy Ward gives outside his sport is second to none. In addition to the Leadership Programs, he practices “servant leadership” on his own. From Read With the Blue Devils, to visiting Duke Children’s Hospital and hosting middle school youth from Oxford Housing Authority at home football games, Ward always operates from a genuine service-oriented heart. As an effective and successful leader should be, he is reliable and consistent in his actions.

Ward sat down for a quick Q&A session …

What is your major?
Tradelle Ward:
Biological anthropology and anatomy.
What are your future goals?
Gain admittance to a post baccalaureate pre-medical program and subsequently apply to medical school pursuing a career as an orthopedic surgeon working primarily in the discipline of sports medicine.

What is your favorite part of SAAC?
I am infinitely supportive of any organization or institution that empowers the members of which are a part of it to have influence over its workings. I believe the Student Athlete Advisory Council enables the student-athlete to do just that with respect to our athletic administration, our university as a whole, the ACC and the NCAA. I feel that the opinions of the student-athlete matter most in affairs concerning policy, competition, ethics and sportsmanship, et cetera and therefore it was my desire to actively contribute in hopes of making a positive difference in what is already established. Needless to say, I hope to do just that.

Why are you a mentor?
As a freshman there are definitely a lot of new and potentially overwhelming elements that are now a part of your life. Add the variable of being a student-athlete into the equation and it’s easy to get lost at the outset of your journey. However that is not to say that this may be the case for all, but I know I had an interesting time trying to adapt to my new life when I arrived on campus a little more than three years ago. I wished I had another outlet to help figure this new jungle that I found myself in besides my teammates. Don’t get me wrong, they were great, but the more help the better. So being a mentor is my way of trying to help those that may or may not be in a similar position as myself as a freshman. My favorite part is definitely meeting and developing friendships with the other athletes who I would probably otherwise never get a chance to meet.

Who is a person that has had a positive effect on you?
Out of the many, I would say my father is the person who has had the greatest positive effect on me. He was the person to show me that the sky is the limit and has always challenged as well as supported me in my best attempts to soar above the clouds. He’s usually the first person I turn to when I need advice or some honest input on anything and I hope to be like him one day.

Name five things you love to do. 
As a child I was always very active and competitive and therefore gravitated toward sports. Even now I still love to play sport or engage in any sort of competitive physical activity. I also love to fish (salt or freshwater makes no difference to me), watch movies, hike and eat.

What is a symbol that represents you?
Wow! This one is impossible to answer. I think an image of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, would best highlight the qualities of my character, personality, demeanor and presence (as I perceive them at least).

If you could spend an hour with anyone, who would it be?
I would give anything to spend an hour with my grandmother who passed away this past summer. I hadn’t seen her in a number of years as she lived in a retirement community in New Jersey. It was truly one of those instances of “I’ll see you soon, I’ve just been really busy” that are often seen in books and films. This experience has shown me that no matter the case, you should never, ever make excuses to your family or those closest to you.

What is your favorite part of Duke Athletics so far? 
My favorite part of Duke Athletics has been my team. Spending so much time with a group of guys with varied interests and skills is truly an amazing thing. Even greater is the bond that is made with others when you sweat, bleed, cry, struggle and triumph with. As we all continue to grow and develop into the professionals, the fathers and the grandfathers we will be one day, I can say that I don’t think I will ever have friends as great as my teammates. That being said, I feel Duke Athletics has impacted me in a way that I don’t think can ever be topped.
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