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School spirit without borders

If you have been to a high school sporting event in the last year or so, you may have noticed something exciting is happening in Lawrence County.

Last year the Ohio Valley Conference was expanded to include Ironton and Portsmouth high schools, and with this new alignment, in about every sport our schools in Lawrence County now compete against one another much more often than ever before.

As with anything new, there were some questions as to how this new alignment might affect competition on the field; however, it seems to me that the teams are working harder, the bands are playing louder and the fans are more dedicated than ever.

But more important than what is happening on the field with this new OVC, I would like to recognize that something off the field is building in Lawrence County.

What is building is a respect and appreciation for each community that each school represents. In addition, the lesson we are learning is that our young people from all over Lawrence County, in each and every school district, are very special indeed. The effort these kids put forth on the field, on the court or on the track, regardless of the sport or activity, is amazing to watch, and just plain fun.

It is so energizing to imagine what the young people of Lawrence County will accomplish in their lives as they take this effort and determination they are learning in high school into the real world in the future.

Since our boys go to Chesapeake, I am obviously a very biased observer who wears a lot of purple. However, as you can imagine, I have good friends and family in every school district. I have never seen the school spirit and community pride from every school in the county like this past year, thanks in large part to the new OVC.

Of course, there are always going to be good-natured rivalries. I enjoy taking a ribbing for wearing my purple from friends from all over the county (and I don’t mind to dish it out a little as well-Go Peake!), but what I have noticed is a sincere sense of interest and respect for folks from the other schools in our county that has grown over the last year.

As a fan, I enjoy the heck out of the new OVC and, as a county leader, I am so appreciative of what this new OVC is doing to make Lawrence County a better place to live.

I would like to thank all those who have put this new OVC together and those who continue to work so hard to make it great for our county. To the administrators, the coaches, the volunteers, the business sponsors, and especially the students, thank you for giving your best!

If you haven’t been to a high school game recently, then get out there and experience for yourself what is building in Lawrence County because our future truly is bright.


Jason C. Stephens