The SCHS wrestling team asked the school board for facilities and equipment to supply their burgeoning program. L-r are: Assistant Coach Doug Silvers, Paxton Albright, Head Coach Chris Weaver, and Will Keener.
Dec. 4, 2018 – The Sequatchie County High School (SCHS) wrestling team addressed the Board of Education (BOE) at their Dec. 3 meeting, asking for upgraded equipment, locker rooms, and a place to work out.
Team members Will Keener and Paxton Albright explained that the wrestling program is growing by leaps and bounds. Last year, five of their team members qualified to compete at state, with three bringing home medals.
But the local team has only a racquetball court as a location for working out and practicing.
“It's hard to control the temperature in there,” Keener said. “And we've had some items stolen.”
“We need a larger facility,” Albright said, “and space for equipment. The equipment we need is specialized. They're devices specific for wrestling.”
The team also lacks locker rooms and storage for equipment. Wrestlers have to dress in the restrooms. And their coaches are entirely volunteer, with Head Coach Chris Weaver coming down from where he works in Nashville every day for wrestling practice.
The SCHS wrestling team has grown quickly, and following in the footsteps of Katie Brock, who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016, a lot of girls have decided to wrestle. The team now boasts a total of 23 members – 12 male and 11 female.
“We are growing each year by at least 50 percent,” Coach Weaver told the school board.
“Please help our wrestling team to continue to grow and advance,” Albright said.
Also addressing the school board was Band Director Tim Willis and Band Boosters President Ben Condra, who showed a slide presentation of the 3rd Annual Sequatchie Valley Marching Band Festival, hosted at SCHS.
“We had about 700 students marching that day,” Willis said. “We had three bands from Knoxville. We have pretty much estimated we'll have 15-18 bands next year.”
Then Willis introduced five of his band students from the middle school that plan to participate in Junior Clinic Dec. 7 in Cleveland, Tenn., and they played a Christmas song for the board. Aeydn Cisto was selected #1 seventh grade trombone last year, and #2 over all, Willis said.
Playing Christmas music for the school board are (l-r): Nicholas Blevins, Aeydn Cisto, and Jacob Ross on trombone, Jaron Dangler on trumpet, and Morgan Kilgore on clarinet.
Band members will be caroling local businesses the last two days before school is out this year, Willis added.
Chamber of Commerce Director Janis Kyser also spoke to the BOE, welcoming Director of Schools Pete Swafford as the Chamber's newest member. Kyser also suggested the school system implement a “BEST” program – Business and Education Succeeding Together.
“It would mean developing a work ethic diploma or certificate,” Kyser explained. “For attendance, absences – a student earns points. Tardiness, discipline, voluntary drug screening, GPA, CTE, Tennessee Promise community service, dual enrollment, industry certification, and internships. All it takes is 20 points to earn the certificate.”
Students who earned the work ethic diploma could receive a special cord to wear at graduation, and a job interview with a participating company.
“Something like this is really valuable,” Board Member Debbie Adams said. “I think the key is having business partners.”
In other business, the BOE:
- Approved on first reading board policy maintaining test and data security.
- Approved a bid of $101,662 for a Bluebird school bus that incorporates two new safety features – electronic stability controls and a rear-mounted extended stop arm.
- Received information from Transportation Supervisor Melissa Cordell about state funds available through the Volkswagen civil suit settlement that will partially fund purchase of four new diesel buses over the next two years.
- Approved a contract with Cope Architects for Griffith Elementary School renovations. Architects are paid 7 percent of a project's cost for renovations, or 5 percent for new construction, Swafford said, “which is consistent across the industry.”
- Discussed the need to test drinking water at the schools for lead, in compliance with new state law.
All board members were present at Monday's meeting, and all votes were unanimous.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2019, with a working session preceding that on Jan. 3 (moved due to the New Year's Day holiday). All meetings are open to the public.