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Friday, February 16, 2018

Schools Introduce Competitive Play for Younger Students

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For younger students who want to play an organized sport, an outside league used to be their only option.

Now, more Mansfield ISD elementary and intermediate schools are starting their own competitive leagues to increase student involvement.

“The district guiding statement is every student will participate in an extracurricular or co-curricular activity,” said Tamara Liddell, principal of Janet Brockett Elementary School. “We, along with several other Mansfield ISD schools, wanted to take that vision to another level.”

Brockett Elementary teamed up with seven MISD elementary schools to create a basketball league for third- and fourth-grade boys. Games are played in front of a packed house on Monday nights, and practices are held throughout the week.

Cheerleading clubs have also been created at schools to
cheer the boys on.
Coach Ron Middleton said it teaches the kids to be successful student-athletes. He said the kids learn discipline and character. In addition, every one of his students gives a grade report to their other teachers to make sure academics remains the focus.

“These kids are students first and athletes second,” explained the Brockett Elementary P.E. teacher. “You have to make sure you’re on top of your game—not only on the court but in the classroom as well.”

The idea is catching on at the intermediate level as well. Although Donna Shepard Intermediate School does not play against other schools, the intramural program introduced this year still receives large participation.

“They get to stay here after school and be with their friends in a safe environment and still be active,” said P.E. teacher Lesley Burke. “It just enhances those competitive skills and helps them to be a good winner and a good sport.”

Shepard Intermediate’s intramural program offers dodgeball, basketball, volleyball and soccer. The fifth- and sixth-graders will also have a chance to compete in video gaming later this school year.