SULLIVAN – The discussion over whether to participate in a high school sports season has been ongoing all year. With competition set to return this week, members of the Sullivan community explained how their effort brought winter sports back to RSU 24 this winter season.
Discussion, cohesion and a unified interest in the athletes. Those were the pillars of reviving winters sports at Sumner High School.
“I know the people that are on the board, and they’re very thoughtful, sincere people who truly, they care about our kids and our community,” said Jenna Shorey, Chairperson of the Sumner Parent Partnership.
With no fall season and a winter season already voted down in early December, the Sumner Parent Partnership took action, organizing a committee that focused on the mental health of the students as it relates to co-curricular activities. The group was made up mostly of parents, with Sumner High School Principal Ty Thurlow and Athletic Director Rick Dube present as well.
“At some point we had to make a decision–what risks are worth taking? Is it more important to make sure that our students mental and emotional health–is that more important than the risks that would come from participating in co-curricular activities the way they’ve been designed?” Dube said.
On Dec. 22, Sumner Parent Partnership leader Jenna Shorey made her case to the RSU 24 School Board.
“We have kids who are in isolation, and they’re falling deeper into isolation by not begin able to participate in any extracurricular activities,” she said in an interview.
After seeing the effectiveness of the fall season around the state, Shorey said the absence of sports was potentially more of a concern that the risk of returning to action.
“Sports are something that you always look forward to in school, and when something like that, that you love so much is taken away, it’s upsetting,” said Rachel Colby, a junior basketball player at Sumner.
As Shorey presented, the school board listened, and eventually voted in favor of winter athletics.
“Pretty awesome that we have that support. It really helped us try and get our sports back, and it’s just really nice to know that they are also supporting us as well,” Colby said.
Athletes at Sumner have been practicing in some shape-or-form for the last couple of weeks. While competition is scheduled to begin on Monday Sumner hopes to begin playing games later in January.