School spirit shouldn#8217;t stop with whistle

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 3, 2007

Tigers are prowling the streets of Ironton. Panther and Bobcat growls can be heard from Franklin Furnace to Chesapeake.

Dragons are roaring in Proctorville while Hornets are buzzing in Coal Grove and Pointers, Redmen and Vikings are roaming the county.

Lawrence County has been taken over — with football fever that is.

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Add in some healthy enthusiasm for the Ohio State Buckeyes and Marshall University Thundering Herd and we have a full-blown epidemic.

Flags and banners are flying and school spirit is high. Everyone is talking about what the high schools and colleges are doing on the field.

And this is a great time of year for that but hopefully this attention can translate to the community getting involved and interested outside the lines as well.

Athletics are certainly important in southern Ohio and mean a lot to the student-athletes who work hard each and every day.

While sporting events get a lot of attention, we hope parents and citizens use this as a chance to learn more about what their school is doing in the classroom as well.

Last month, the state released its annual report cards, showing how local schools are doing on proficiency tests.

The sad thing is no one talked much about it.

Football kickoff grabbed lots of attention.

Sort of lost in the buzz of the season was the fact that many area schools are doing well and improving the educational opportunities that our young adults are getting.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports and love high school football. Fall is my favorite time of the year and the gridiron is mostly why.

But I hope fans, parents and others in the community can use the season as a way to learn more about what else happens inside those school halls.

It is important that we get just as excited about Chesapeake Elementary, both Ironton elementaries and Fairland High School earning an excellent designation or that

Dawson-Bryant, South Point, and Rock Hill and Symmes Valley improved their results in a variety of areas.

Each one of these districts and each one of the schools within it are doing many positive things to develop these children. It is vital that the community pays attention and says, “Well done.”

Plus, parents need to know what areas schools could improve upon and work with educators and students to take an active role in the education process.

Athletics are important to every community and every school district but shouldn’t take the focus off of what the true goal is: Educating our youth to become leaders.

Nothing is wrong with school spirit on Friday night, but it won’t hurt if we all try to celebrate test scores as much as we do touchdowns.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at