By Ted Dole
It is week four in the EPHS Fall athletics season and the varsity football team is ranked 8th in the state.
Third year Head Football Coach Jacob Schauffler (an EPHS grad) is not surprised by the early success of his team. “The kids have worked hard and have done what our coaches have asked of them. We have been telling them, for a couple of years, that if they did certain things they would be successful. In the last couple of years the program has shown steady improvement. But, it has been a building process and the improvement has not always shown up on the scoreboard. We finished last season on a strong note with a big win over Ashland. Now, this year, we feel like we have a program that can compete with anyone in the state. This is just the start, our participation numbers are up at all levels and Eagle Point Football is going to continue to improve and compete at a high level, consistently, for years to come.”
While the football program is getting most of the attention, right now, the entire EPHS Athletic and Activity Program (both boys and girls) is seeing a resurgence. Head Coach Rob Klecker’s (an EPHS grad) Girls Varsity Volleyball team recently scored big wins over perennial powerhouses Grants Pass and Ashland. And the FFA advisors along with six students will be attending the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Also, everyone at EPHS is looking forward to strong teams in the Winter and Spring sports as well.
Thanks to a concerted effort by many people involved with the school district, there has been an aggressive move toward returning the pride and spirit to the athletic programs at EPHS and creating a culture of success among all the students in the district. These efforts are starting to pay off for the students.
Since being appointed as the Athletic and Activities Director for all of School District 9 just over two years ago, Brian Winters has been implementing a program that was, partially, developed as the result of a year long evaluation of School District 9’s athletic and activity programs by Bruce Howell and the school board.
EPHS leadership teacher, Cari Snider gave an example of how some of the changes have benefitted the students- “In the last few years EPHS has created a cross-curricular support system. Activities are supporting athletes and athletes are supporting other activities and clubs. Many students are involved in both an activity and a sport and it creates many more opportunities for students to share common interests with one another. Students have learned the importance of supporting one another through game and activity attendance and the impact it plays in the outcome of the event. Much of the success of our programs has come from new leadership in different sports and activities. Coaches and advisors are encouraging their students to be involved in all activities, not just their own. This has encouraged a larger population of students to be involved in school activities, therefore creating a more positive and excited school culture”
As a result of the hard work that has been done and the changes that have been made, there have been many positive signs that the athletic and activity programs at EPHS are on the way up: Facilities have been improved, more programs being offered, participation among the entire student body is up. As an example, the cross country program participation has tripled from last year, attendance at events is up and overall interest and support from the entire community has improved.
Studies show that participating in athletics and activities while in high school increases interest in school and the level of success a student has while in high school and increases the chances of a student graduating by up to three times. Athletics also teach many essential ‘life skills’ that are achieved through athletic competition. Activities such as speech, drama and FFA give students a presence, self esteem and the ability to lead.
“Students benefit from sports and activities because they provide opportunities for students to practice and build good character traits of showing respect towards themselves as well as others,” said Snider. “Sports and activities also help students develop life-long morals and skills that foster success later in life.”
All of this is great news for the Upper Rogue area. We should all be lining up to help the teachers, coaches, advisors, administrators and every other adult in our school district make our students’ high school experience the best it can be. They need the communities support!
The culture of EPHS is changing, now is the time for all of us in the Upper Rogue to rally behind our young student athletes and show them that their hard work and dedication to success is worth the effort and appreciated by the community that they represent.
ake an effort to attend events with your family and show support for our young men and women. Let’s all help make the success of the athletic and activity programs at EPHS an important part of our community.
Let’s all get on the EPHS Bandwagon. Go Eagles!