There now are 97 Central Heights Middle School students in the seventh and eighth grades. Eighty-seven percent of these students are involved in athletics — volleyball, football and cross-country. Other middle schools in the area average 35 percent to 38 percent of their students involved in athletics.
Herald Editor and Publisher Jeanny Sharp, in her Sept. 28 editorial concerning Central Heights’ after-school athletics, referred to Central Heights Middle School students missing the opportunity to participate in electives. The electives now offered to middle school students that do not interfere with athletics include robotics, advanced robotics, photography, vocal music, guitar, introduction to Spanish, science lab, band, art, newspaper, multicultural, hunter safety, general shop, computer applications, keyboarding, leadership, business essentials, exploratory agriculture, introduction to technology, and career and life planning.
There are several points to consider if Central Heights Middle School decides to offer athletics after school. First, physical education classes will have to be offered as electives to the seventh- and eighth-grade students to fulfill state requirements. Secondly, the practice times will vary between early morning practice and late evening practices because of the limited gym space that needs to be shared with the high school teams. Practices would require the middle school students to practice at 6 a.m. once or twice per week. Also, some teams would be practicing at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. As the principal, I disagree with students practicing that late in the evening because they should be home with their families.
I am the most sports-minded person you will ever know. Middle school sports are about introducing the various sports to our students. I want all students to have the opportunity to participate, and having practice during our seventh hour allows this for all students.
Central Heights middle and high schools have strong leadership in their athletic departments, so I think our students are not lacking in the fundamental skills to compete during their high school careers.
— Buddy Welch,