Ironton#039;s present looks great, future may be brighter

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 18, 2005

What a weekend! Last Friday afternoon, the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers basketball team competed hard in the

state basketball tournament.

Wow, it was the first time in 25 years that a lady basketball team had made it to the final four. It was only the second time in school history. Coach Amy Hughes, her staff and all of the Lady Tigers team are to be commended on an exciting and very successful season. They have represented my school and my community with dignity and class the entire way.

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On Saturday afternoon, I traveled to Athens to watch the Ironton Fighting Tigers boys basketball team play for a regional championship. What an exciting game and what an exciting team.

They proved me wrong several times this season, going 25-0 thus far and claiming only the school's second regional title and berth in the state basketball tournament.

Now, when people ask me if Roger Zornes is my cousin, I say, "He is now, we're regional champs!" Did you know that there are 789 boys basketball teams in the state of Ohio and there are 788 girls teams? That is a total of 1,577 teams participating in basketball in our state. Only 32 of those teams make it to the state tournament.

Both of Ironton's basketball teams made it there. It is an accomplishment rarely enjoyed by schools across our state.

On Sunday afternoon, my wife and I enjoyed taking in the Ironton High School musical. Let me tell you something, I am not Siskel or Ebert, but I will tell you one thing, that was some play I saw Sunday. Those students in that play were as polished and acted as well as many actors I have seen in plays at The Paramount Arts Center or the Vern Riffe Center.

I was impressed with the voices, as well as the acting. For teenage students to get up in front of their family, peers and community, for four straight days and put on something that top quality, that is truly something.

Mrs. Price and the entire cast and production crew should be commended for a job very well done. Everyone in our community needs to get behind these productions. They are high quality and very affordable.

These three different events, utilizing talents in many different areas, brings me to think of our schools. Our schools mean very much to the future of our city. The city of Ironton's future economy will ride on quality education.

Extra curricular activities, such as what took place over just one weekend, is a very important part of a quality education. Ironton's leaders need to attract quality businesses to locate in our city. Quality businesses are led by professionals who care a great deal about education and infrastructure.

Quality businesses do not locate in cities where infrastructure and schools are in disrepair. Business leaders want their kids to attend schools that are state of the art, clean and provide new and exciting opportunities for learning. They are not attracted to cities that don't place high importance on quality education.

Our city faces a crossroads. We have some serious choices to make. Do we focus on maintaining what we have and create funding to maintain? Or do we create funding to focus on the future? Our city needs an economic stimulus, regardless of what budget we choose.

Our city needs new schools to provide our quality educators with the facilities to educate these talented kids. In the near future our citizens have a choice they will need to make. We will chose to maintain or we will choose to be proactive and raise the bar for our kids.

With quality schools and an economic stimulus for our town, we could create quality business and maybe, just maybe, these kids and their kids won't leave this great city.

Wow, what a weekend.

Jay D. Zornes is an Ironton resident and a financial planner with Creative Financial Solutions.