Trio honored by NCHSAA

Published 4:45 pm Saturday, October 10, 2009

CHAPEL HILL – A trio of local schools are among 159 honored by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

Bertie High School, Hertford County High School and Northampton County High School – East were among those recognized by the Association as an ejection free school during the 2008-09 academic year.

“We are certainly pleased to recognize these schools for their positive programming,” said Mark Dreibelbis, assistant executive director of the NCHSAA and director of the Association’s Student Services Division. “It is part of our continuing commitment to provide opportunities and recognize schools which are promoting the kind of behavior we want to see as part of a wholesome athletic environment.”

Bertie and Hertford County were among 12 schools in Region One who were honored while Northampton-East was one of 32 schools in Region 3.

HCHS Athletic Director Charles Simmons said the commitment of the school to a positive environment and good sportsmanship starts at the top with Principal Jerry Simmons.

“Mr. Simmons sets the tone for what we believe in,” the Athletic Director said. “He will not tolerate poor sportsmanship under any circumstances. He discusses it with me at the start of every year and I, in turn, pass that on to our coaches.

“Being good sports is something we always stress,” Charles Simmons said. “We have been fortunate enough to be recognized by the Northeastern Coastal Conference for our sportsmanship several times, including last year.”

The AD said he was pleased with the way his coaches and players had performed.

“I’m appreciative of the commitment our coaches and student-athletes made to make sure we were playing as good sports, competing hard and giving it our all,” he said. “That led to this recognition.”

Bertie High School Athletic Director Marvin Rankins said his school also stressed the importance of playing well and playing within the boundaries of good sportsmanship.

“It is something I have always stressed,” Rankins said. “We want to do have good sportsmanship and do the right thing at the right time. We are pleased and proud of receiving the ejection free award.

“At the beginning of each year, when I meet with the coaches, I stress good character, good sportsmanship and staying out of trouble,” he added. “I owe a lot to the coaches because they do an outstanding job with our kids and stressing playing the right way.”

He said the award was something the school is proud to receive.

“It is a very positive thing for Bertie High School,” Rankins said. “It shows we’re doing the right thing.”

NCHS-East Athletic Director Greg Watford said he wanted all of his student-athletes to play as good sports, something he has stressed in 18 years as a coach and now the past three as AD.

“It’s very important for us to have been recognized for this award last year,” Watford said. “I have always stressed sportsmanship as a coach and now do the same as an Athletic Director. It goes hand-in-and with promoting citizenship.”

He said he also believed it was an important part of being prepared to play well.

“Usually the team that shows the most sportsmanship are the teams that are most prepared and most successful,” Watford said. “When I played for Coach (Daryl) Allen and Coach (Richard) Murray, they taught me that and I’ve carried it with me all these years.”

Overall, 34 more schools were recognized by the NCHSAA for last year than were for the previous year. The trend has been steadily upward since the inception of the program.

Other regional schools who were honored included: Ayden-Grifton High School, Bear Grass High School, Camden County High School, Columbia High School, Creswell High School, Jamesville High School, Southside High School, Washington High School, KIPP Pride, Northampton County High School – West, Roanoke Rapids High School, Rocky Mount Prep, Rocky Mount High School, Southeast Halifax High School, Tarboro High School and Warren County High School.

All schools with no ejections for the year received a Certificate of Recognition at the recently completed NCHSAA regional meetings. North Carolina Farm Bureau sponsors the program as part of its initiative with the NCHSAA.