BY CAROL HICKS
Varsity football is back in the Hoopeston Area High School schedule for the 2013-2014 school year after a year’s hiatus.
About 40 students from freshman to seniors and their parents attended a meeting Tuesday evening geared to Phase II in the restructuring of Hoopeston’s football program, a program that began in Hoopeston in 1897. It has been in existence for 116 years.
"Last year was the first time in Hoopeston’s history that we did not have a Hoopeston record in varsity football," said high school principal Larry Maynard.
School board members and the athletic department decided not to have a varsity football team last year due to the lack of varsity players. The program was downgraded to a junior varsity schedule for 2012-2013.
This decision also was made to protect the freshman and sophomore players. Downgrading to a junior varsity gave the team a better learning experience by playing against other junior varsity teams.
"Success is a journey," Maynard said. "It’s making a commitment. Are we willing to make a commitment? If you can make the commitment, you will be there in August."
He added if any student didn’t plan to be there in August for the beginning of football season, then he shouldn’t sign the forms to play.
"Our young people can compete and do anything, if they set their minds to do it," Maynard said.
Suzi Root, RTI coordinator, spoke to the athletes about grades. Hoopeston now has a no pass, no play policy for athletes in all extracurricular activities. An athlete has to have passing grades in all classes to participate in sports.
Root said the biggest problem with grades for many students is not handing in homework assignments.
"Zeros greatly impact grade point areas," Root said. "What a difference turning in all your assignments will make in your grades. There is help for students struggling in certain areas."
She added a student shouldn’t wait until he or she is failing to ask for help.
Students and parents filled out forms following the meeting making a commitment to play junior and varsity football in the fall.