Thursday, 18 August 2011 09:07

School officials excited about Baseball Academy addition

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By Rose Sanchez — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Staff at South Central High School in Oyen are looking forward to September and the first year with students from the new Badlands Baseball Academy.

“We’re excited about it,” says Allan Stober, principal of the school. “It’s new territory for us, but academy (officials) have done a good job recruiting kids. It’s going to be interesting. Right now, we’re excited about it and looking forward to September.”

For students playing with the Badlands Badgers, the academic side of their involvement in the academy will look no different than any other high school student.

“The students will be mixed in with the regular classes and that’s a good thing,” says Stober. “If they want to feel part of the school and community they have to get to know other people.”

There will be a strong emphasis on academics for the academy members and the expectation they will do as best as they can.

“We want to make sure the students get the programming they need.”

Teachers are always willing to work with any student before classes, at lunch or after school if they require extra assistance.

“There will be a lot of opportunities for them,” adds Stober. “We’re hoping if the (ball players) have to miss (class) between them and the school, we can get them caught up and doing well.”

Other athletes face the same issues. Often volleyball and basketball players will have to leave early on a Friday to make it to weekend tournaments on time. They are responsible to ensure they keep up on the work they may have missed.

“It’s a bit of a balancing act,” points out Stober.

Having a baseball academy in Oyen will benefit the school thanks to it helping stabilize enrollment.

“It gives us some more numbers which helps to secure staffing,” says Stober. “When our numbers are down we starting losing funding from Alberta Education. In the years to come, we know our numbers will go down. We hope the academy will help to stabilize those numbers.”

While there will be some growing pains in the first year of its operation, Stober says there are a lot of good people involved with the initiative from the frontline academy staff to the teachers at the school.

He knows there are high expectations from parents who are sending their children to the academy — and paying to do so — but there’s an advantage to those students living and schooling in a small community.

“In a small town there are a lot of eyes and ears. I would have peace of mind sending my son to an academy in a small town,” says Stober. “Everything’s not always real simple. There’s going to be some challenges but we’ll deal with them as they come. It’s exciting. For the kids who love baseball, (in Oyen) they’ll get to immerse themselves in baseball year round.”

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