UPDATE: Celebration to mark Decatur High soccer team championshipFrom left to right: Decatur High seniors Nathan Tumperi, Theo Davis, Tuck Rodi, Art Enloe, Lucas Ryter, Luke Speed, Devin Olson, Elliott Williams. Photo provided by Eric Tumperi
Decatur High School has provided the following update about this event:
Today’s Championship Rally moved to DHS Gym due to likely inclement weather. Doors open 2:45 pm, event begins at 3:00 pm.
Here is our previous story …
There will be a championship rally in honor of the Decatur High Boys soccer team on Wednesday, May 18.
On Thursday, May 12, Decatur High defeated East Hall, 3-2, to win the AAA state high school championship. It was the team’s first state title since 2003.
“Track athlete, Sam Ellis won the State Title for the 800 and 1600 meter runs,” an announcement for the event notes. Ellis’ accomplishment will be celebrated as well.
The rally will be held at the Decatur High Stadium from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Gates will open at 2:45 p.m.
“During the rally, you will meet the athletes and hear from coaches and players about their championship season,” the announcement says. “Then stick around after the program ends for an opportunity to meet and greet the players and coaches at a short reception on the DHS Stadium Plaza, sponsored by the City of Decatur, the Decatur Athletic Department and the Decatur High PTSA.”
There was some controversy surrounding the championship game because it was scheduled for 2:30 p.m., the same day five team members were taking their International Baccalaureate finals. According to one parent who was there, keeper Theo Davis, who is a senior planning to attend to Emory University, arrived as the game was starting. He stayed behind at school to take the test.
According to a letter from Superintendent David Dude to the Georgia High School Association, three of the five team members chose not to take the test so they could play in the championship game.
“What is most frustrating about this situation is that it was entirely avoidable,” Dude wrote. “It is difficult to comprehend how GHSA came to the decision to schedule championship games during the school day during the busiest assessment window of the school year. Offering the games on evenings and/or weekends would have not only allowed these students to partake in both the academic and athletic achievements they had earned, but it would also have allowed peers and parents greater opportunity to support the team.
“I respectfully request that GHSA review the processes that led to this decision and revise accordingly; placing student interests as the primary criteria in decision making.”
Here’s Dude’s full letter to GHSA:
May 13, 2016
Gary Phillips Executive Director
Georgia High School Association PO Box 271
151 S. Bethel Street Thomaston, GA 30286
Dear Mr. Phillips,
The City Schools of Decatur is extremely proud of the performance of our boys’ soccer team. These student-athletes have worked hard for many years to achieve such a high honor. They have contributed similar dedicated effort to their academic work, most notably as part of our International Baccalaureate (IB) program. On Thursday, they were scheduled to take an IB exam; the culminating activity of two years of intense coursework. They were also scheduled to compete in the state championship game.
Unfortunately, those two events were scheduled in such a way as to preclude the students from participating in both. Immediately after finding out the boys were assigned to a 2:30 pm game time in Macon, DHS staff took action to try to address this situation. They worked with the IB program and determined the maximum flexibility they could offer was to begin the exam 30 minutes early. In order to do this, all students taking that exam had to begin earlier. Other staff worked with GHSA to attempt to identify solutions regarding the game time. They were told that the only option was to find two schools willing to swap times with them, along with the agreement of the opposing team. Not surprisingly, the other schools were not willing to switch times, likely for the same reasons facing our district.
Five of these student-athletes were placed in an untenable situation. Three of them chose to forego the IB test in order to make it to Macon in time for the game, and one chose to take a portion of the exam in order to obtain partial credit, allowing him to arrive at the game just moments before it started. The fifth student received permission for a course revision not requiring a test.
What is most frustrating about this situation is that it was entirely avoidable. It is difficult to comprehend how GHSA came to the decision to schedule championship games during the school day during the busiest assessment window of the school year. Offering the games on evenings and/or weekends would have not only allowed these students to partake in both the academic and athletic achievements they had earned, but it would also have allowed peers and parents greater opportunity to support the team.
I respectfully request that GHSA review the processes that led to this decision and revise accordingly; placing student interests as the primary criteria in decision making.
Dr. David Dude Superintendent