By Rupert Howell
Don’t stereotype South Panola athletes as a bunch of under achievers in the classroom. Statistics compiled by school administrators may just prove you wrong, according to Coach and Assistant Athletic Director Kim Wilson.
Eight varsity teams will be recognized for having cumulative grade point averages of three-point or above and will be recognized at a May 7 reception, according to Activities Director Kaye Smythe, who explained all school organizations included under the Mississippi High School Activities Association were eligible for recognition.
Students must maintain a 75 average in four core-subject areas to be eligible to enroll in extracurricular activities. Once selected for the team or group, coaches and directors are responsible to help them maintain academic eligibility.
Help may come in the form of after school tutorial or free ACT preparatory that would cost individual students $49 if done online.
High School principal Gearl Loden explained that a dozen or more teachers stay after school on their own to assist any student requiring extra academic help. Another works with athletes with ACT preparatory during her free period.
Loden also stated that some football team members had to get their after school work schedules adjusted so they could attend after school tutorial offered on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
And although the services are offered to all students, activity instructors such as coaches, band and choir directors are responsible in seeing that their students maintain the criteria to remain eligible. Wilson and Coach Howard double check to make sure students maintain eligibility.
Big groups such as choir/ chorus, band and football team didn’t make the three-point criteria according to Wilson who along with Smythe noted that many of their members had high averages.
The football team had a cumulative 2.72 average according to Wilson who noted that the five-year state champion team gets the most attention on physical abilities and academic shortcomings as well.
“Yeah, we are really under the microscope,” Principal Loden mentioned referring to an unenviable winning streak.
Teams that will be recognized for academic excellence with a three point or better average include: girls basketball, baseball, fast-pitch softball, slow-pitch softball, tennis, cheerleading and girl’s cross-country.
Wilson also noted that team academic awards has spurn competition between sexes in like team sports.
Watch for next year’s competitive archery team. They’re aiming to be right on target.