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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
December 17, 1998     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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December 17, 1998

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SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON Farmer's ADVOCATE - Thursday, December 17, 1998 1 1 e Bob Madison in West be a controver6ial is- the obvious. now a reported 27 of 55) that have only trend toward phas- high schools in fa- centralized facilities in the state? boards and academi- forth various reasons, g that more be offered at with a larger fac- offerings in math- languages, and the arguments for do- schools of smaller and not enough fac- to teach advanced trig, calculus, and a of French are impor- argue against schools ~aore extracurricular ac- ~Well. More offerings in forensics, vocational- etc. are arguments to justify a consoli- Cases in this state two are closed to high in favor of one any valid arguments solidation? the schools that are 85-90% of what the Will the result- enable 85-90% of able to participate activities, and other to also partiti- ve new, consolidated is the question that considered in a con- of schools, those classes of 10-40 Paw, Hundred, and have bands, cheer- chorus, boys and in the fall, winter and vocational-agricul- as FHA, FFA, ational Honor Society. shes to belong ) or activity of his choice, that club or be a team that sport. not the case in the schools. Only make the sports Y the best musicians !bands. no room for the late- r the student who really ~w what he or She is like to find out activities. tided where their tal- lie will not likely a consolidated school. Y 15-year old sopho- lot in life? are growing in every should be shown to follow If only established, already can take advan- expanded offerings at school, is that ad- to the county or its even villages and used to have high those facilities. a town or village object their children to a re- school? loses its sense of one- control. There is no ~eling they know the new school. They no they can help the its goals through the smaller school, said, "If the school (money, ira- ties, uniforms), we get it or we can get have the school's because we know its past history, and of West Virginia has :SUccesses, especially in La its consolidation ef- noteworthy athletic successes have been Brooke High, Wheeling Park, Tucker County, North Marion, Frankfort, Cabell Midland, Spring Valley and Rob- ert C. Byrd. Just this past year, however, there has been stern resistance to an attempted consolidation or ac- tual consolidations. In Pendleton County, students from Circleville High and Franklin High were groups to form Pendleton County High. Some of Circleville's ath- letes went, instead, to Petersburg, while others traveled to Union High in Grant County to avoid go- ing to the new Pendleton High. In nearby Mineral County, Keyser High was consolidated with Elk Garden, a small Class A school. Instead of going by bus to Keyser where the new school was built, some of the Elk Garden stu- dents chose to attend Union High in Grant County. So, Union picked up students from both Circleville and Elk Garden In Mason County, a school board decision was made to con- solidate Point Pleasant, Wahama, and Hannan Highs into one county high school. Before the plans could be finalized and work begun, there was an election in which two school board seats were up for vote. Two school board candidates had one plank in their platforms They stated that if elected they would vote not to consolidate. Those two candidates won. And in Mason County there are still Wahama, Hannan, and Point Pleasant Highs --- and will be into the foreseeable future. Some consolidations do not re- sult in huge schools that auto- matically become Class AAA gi- ants. East Hardy, Tolsia, Wirt Co Pocahontas Co Calhoun Co Gilmer Co Doddridge Co South Harrison, Tyler Consolidated, and Independence are still Class A or AA schools even after consolida- tion. There have been noteworthy occasions where Class A schools of some athletic repute were merged into a consolidated school and the new school didn't reach the promi- nence of the Class A schools that were closed to make it. In some of the more far-flung counties of the state, students must ride buses more than a hour one-way to reach a consolidated school. The bus trip is onerous enough, but the students cannot partici- pate in any after-school activities because they have no way to get home following an activity or prac- tice. In the local school, the students could even walk home after taking part in after-school activities. They were no more than 10 min- utes from the school and could be picked up by parents or other rela- tives after games, plays, choral singing, club meetings, or any get together the community-oriented, smaller school had. The consolidated schools rarely provide activities buses for the students. Such buses leave the school after all activities are com- pleted and take those who want to participate in sports, clubs, cheer- leading, drama, band, or the myriad of activities back to their homes. Activities buses make consoli- dated schools' more defensible --- much more defensible. Without such buses, the arguments for con- solidation are mostly devoid of feeling, devoid of what is best for the human spirit and heavy on what the shrinking education dol- lar, both the state dollar and the local dollar, can maximize in the way of concrete, mortar, steel, ma- sonry, and architectural design. When several smaller schools are closed and a new one built to accommodate their student popu- lations, what is done about class rankings and who will be the salu- tatorian and valedictorian of the first class at the consolidated school? Especially if the new school graduates a class in its first year in existence. What if three schools are merged and two of them have weighted classes and the other, doesn't? If one of the closed schools had 1,000 students in the upper three grades, another had 350, and the third had but 85, do you think the student with the highest grade point average from the smallest school has any chance of being the valedictorian? Since many colleges --- and the main academic reason for having the consolidated school is to add advanced courses to the curricu- lum --- only consider students in the top one-tenth, top one-fourth, top one-half of their class, how are the class rankings going to be made where three different cur- ricula have to considered? This would seem to be an unsolvable dilemma if all three of the merged schools had different standards or weighted classes. Suppose one of the school weighted the third year of a foreign language and the oth- ers didn't? One had a third year of college preparatory math weighted and the others didn't? In many cases, the jury is still out on whether the consolidated school will achieve the excellence in winning athletics that its "parts" did before being closed. Regardless of the climate of thinking in different parts of the state, more consolidations are planned. This school year saw the open- ing of Spring Valley, Pendleton Co and Wyoming East High Schools --- the three newest con- solidations. Riverside High (the bringing together of DuPont and East Bank students) will become a reality next school year. It seems there can never be complete agreement as to whether consolidation is more helpful to the students, the communities in- volved, or the faculties than if the schools were smaller in student population and had the founda- tion of a town or village to stand upon. And athletics is only one of the components for making judg- ments as to whether a new school is a success. Pressure defenses took their tolls from the Jefferson girls bas- ketball team in the two losses ab- sorbed to open the season. Playing on the road in both games, the Cougars first lost to unbeaten St. Maria Goretti, 57-44, in Hagerstown. The game was tied at the end of three quarters, but the Gaels reinstituted a press they had used successfully in the first half. The Gaels outscored the Cougars by 13 points, mainly with a half court trap, in the fourth pe- riod to register the win. Brianne Hamilton, who played at Martinsburg and Prospect Hall the past two seasons, scored 22 points and had numerous steals Continued on next page By Bob Madison Shepherd rose to West Virginia Conference fame with its first 20- win men's basketball season in 1973-74, some 25 years ago. When the Rams scored over 120 points in beating Lynchburg College and concluding the regu- lar season, it left coach Bob Starkey's team with a 20-4 mark. Included in those 20 wins was a 13-4 West Virginia Conference record, good for second place in the state-wide league behind only Joe Retton and Fairmont. Fairmont had beaten the Rams in Fairmont in the conference opener for both teams. But Shep- herd could have won that game, losing only in the last minute, and thus signaling that this could be an exceptional, record-setting sea- son for the school that had never really done anything of merit in the league. It turns out there were three future Shepherd Sports Hall of Fame players on the school's first 20-win edition. Dave Russell, a 6-foot-7 1/2 consummate competitor, was the most prominent scorer and recog- nized team leader. Russell was later to have his chance to make the Milwaukee Bucks roster, but didn't, and went to France to play his professional basketball. He was killed in an automobile acci- dent while in France. Rodney Sewell was about 6- foot-2 and could score inside as well as on the perimeter. He was especially adept at scoring in tran- sition, and transition was how Shepherd made its living. Sewell finished his career just behind Russell in career points. Larry Boomer was a 6-foot-3 rebounder, defender, and scorer. He started as an unheard of fresh- RAMS II man from Arapahoe, North Caro- lina. And was eventually en- shrined in the Hall of Fame along with Russell and Sewell. The starting guards were Mike Philippi, a player with no fear who willed the Rams to more than one close victory and Vic Holmes. Philippi had played against qual- ity competition in high school, on summer play grounds, and with Russell in pick-up games that lasted from the end of February until the beginning of school in mid-August. Philippi was the team's point guard. He was about 5-foot-10, wasn't quick, but could pass, and most importantly, was never intimidated on any foreign court in the raucous WVIAC. Holmes was best in pressure defenses, at guarding the opponent's best scoring guard or small forward, and scored about 10 points per game. The Shepherd starting five fea- tured players who could not be out-competed. They may not have been totally fearless, but even the ugliest of crowds at West Virginia State, Alderson-Broaddus, or Mor- ris Harvey (now Charleston) couldn't shake this Shepherd team. Mark Swick was the sixth man. He wasn't a pretty player, but on a given night he could score 15 points or collar eight rebounds and he was disconcerting to every- body he played against. Chip Reklis and Don Stinnette were the next players offStarkey's bench and both were major con- tributors. The rest of the team was made up of Anthony Roman, Suds Hart, Alphonso Willett, Dave Thomp- son, Paul Liverman, Kirk Sullivan, and Nelson Parker. In addition to the early confer- ence loss to Fairmont, the other three league losses were to Salem, Concord, and Glenville. Going into the Charleston- based WVIAC post-season tourna- ment, Shepherd was seeded sec- ond behind the regular-season- winning Falcons of Fairmont. Shepherd easily won its first two games and then faced the vo- cal Paul Baker and his Wheeling team in the semifinals. Shepherd beat the Cardinals, 100-80, to earn its way into the finals against Fairmont. It was the closest Starkey ever came to winning the tournament. Shepherd fought from behind against the Fairmont famed matchup zone. Russell would come from the baseline and take jumpers from beyond the foul line all the way to the top of the key. He made enough to draw the Rams to within one point as time faded off the Civic Center clock. But Russell missed a couple and the Rams didn't unseat Fair- mont in the end, losing by four points, thus ending a 23-5 season. That season was the beginning of a long line of 20-win seasons for Starkey and the Rams. It was 25 years ago, but seems like last sea- son to those who witnessed most of it. Jefferson held its 14th annual football banquet on Monday night, saluting its players with numer- ous awards and enough food for three NFL training camps. Cheer- leading awards were also made. Also revealed was the 1999 football schedule which includes 10 games. The past season had the Cougars playing only nine games. After opening remarks by coach Jay Kirby and an invocation by Suzanne Swartz, the crowd of about 175 enjoyed a meal provided by most in attendance who brought a covered dish. Following the meal, Kirby and his staff handed out various awards. First, the 1998 varsity letter winners were recognized. Then came the senior awards and men- tion of the three all-CVAL players --- Wee Nelson, Eric Smoot, and B.J. Mercer --- the Cougars had. The Sportsmanship Award went to Lawrence Vickers. Scho- lastic Awards for at least a 3.0 Jefferson football coach Jay Kirby (left) has just recog- nized eight of his senior players at the Cougars football ban- quet held on Monday night. academic average the previous se- mester went to 11 players. The Offensive Award was given to B.J. Mercer and the Defensive Award to Wee Nelson. The Special Teams Award was Swimmers Have Success Jefferson's boys swim team captured first place in the seven- school Mercersburg Academy Invi- tational Meet. Jefferson's girls team finished fourth in the same vidual medley. Finishing second was the Jefferson 200 medley re- lay team. Finishing third were Tim Gray in the 100 backstroke and Ryan Whitesell in both the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. None of the Jefferson girls fin- ished as high as third in any event. The Cougars also posted a 99- 54 boys win over Randolph-Macon Academy and a 137-35 girls win over R-MA. Sara Strube and Debbie Hill had a hand in four wins and Missy Lancaster and Patricia Willauer three wins. Tim Gray, Joey Keyes, and Ja- son Miller had a hand in three wins and Ryan Whitesell two. meet. The boy's team results were: Jefferson 117, James Buchanan 112, St. Maria Goretti 91, Hedges- ville 65, Martinsburg 60, James Wood 49, and Prospect Hall 8. The girl's team results were: James Buchanan 153, James Wood 97 1/2, Hedgesville 74 1/2, Jefferson 50, Prospect Hall 47, Goretti 42, and Martinsburg 36. Jason Miller was Jefferson's only winner of an individual or re- lay event as he won the 200 indi- taken by Scott Mercer and the Most Improved Award by Damon McDowell. The Charlotte Gageby Memo- rial (Unsung Hero Award) went to Lawrence Vickers and the Most Valuable Player was a tie between Eric Smoot and B.J. Mercer. Football Booster President Don Engle spoke and recognized that organization's board of directors and efforts put forth by the play- ers themselves to raise money. The 12th Man Award was given to Jim Breeden for his filming of all the team's scrimmages and games at his own expense. He also filmed the banquet. Jefferson's 1999 football sched- ule: August 27 Keyser Away Sept. 3 Allegany, Md. Home Sept. 10Potomac Falls Home Sept. 17Loudoun Valley Away Sept. 24Loudoun County Away Oct. 1 Greenbrier East Home Oct. 8 Musselman Away Oct. 16 Fort Hill, Md. 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