CHAPEL HILL – Two major awards will be presented to schools at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Annual Meeting on Thursday at the Smith Center on the University of North Carolina campus.
Millbrook High School in Raleigh is the seventh annual winner of the Exemplary School Award while Jones Senior High School is the winner of the 2013 Sportsmanship Award.
The awards are given as a cooperative venture among the NCHSAA, the North Carolina Coaches Association and the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association. In addition to a trophy and a banner for display at the respective schools, each school receives a $1000 cash award.
The Exemplary School Award recognizes the top overall school in the state in terms of the "total program," including but not limited to athletic success, scope of athletic opportunities offered, facilities, community interest and involvement, academics and the like.
Millbrook is one of the largest schools in the state with a very diverse group of students. Academically it is very strong, with its International Baccalaureate World School Magnet program (IB), and many Millbrook athletes take IB, advanced placement or honors courses, The school has even created an Athletic Honors Society.
Millbrook offers 32 sports programs and has expanded that to include such things as ninth grade men's basketball and junior varsity wrestling. Several sports have instituted a no-cut policy to ensure maximum participation. The Millbrook Maniacs student cheering section is large and very supportive, and Millbrook has also won the Cap Eight Conference Wells Fargo Cup the last two years while the women's basketball team is a two-time state champion.
In addition, almost all athletic teams perform community service projects, and the booster club has helped with recent improvements to facilities such as new scoreboards and sound systems.
The sportsmanship honor is designed to recognize a school that has been ejection free, has a plan to promote and implement good sportsmanship, is welcoming to visiting fans, makes appropriate accommodations for officials and their own fans demonstrate good sportsmanship.
Jones Senior has long promoted sportsmanship and the results are impressive, as the school has been ejection free for six years.
The school utilizes the saying, "Sportsmanship is not just about how students play on the field, but also about how students live their lives." To that end, coaches stress sportsmanship in preseason meetings and throughout the year, and they hold student-athletes to higher standards. The school has instituted mandatory drug testing for its athletes and has developed special academic policies, including a GPA standard for athletes and mandatory tutoring for those who don't reach the standard. Failure to participate in the remediation also means sitting out games.
Jones athletes also know that if they are disruptive in class, one of the first people contacted is their coach, which means that they will not be on the field or court in the next game. The school notes that these policies and the emphasis on sportsmanship have created an atmosphere in which student-athletes really want to demonstrate appropriate behavior.
"Millbrook and Jones Senior have set themselves apart during the 2012-13 academic year by earning these prestigious honors," said Davis Whitfield, NCHSAA commissioner. "We applaud their commitments in the areas of sportsmanship and overall excellence."
Greenville Rose won the inaugural Exemplary School award in 2007 while North Duplin was the Sportsmanship winner. In 2008, Watauga took the Exemplary School while Asheboro earned the Sportsmanship honor, and in 2009 Fayetteville Jack Britt was the Exemplary School with Hendersonville winning the Sportsmanship award. The 2010 winners were Charlotte Myers Park for the Exemplary School and Raleigh Sanderson for Sportsmanship, and in 2011 Salisbury captured the Exemplary award while South Lenoir was the Sportsmanship winner.
Weddington won the Exemplary award a year ago while Perquimans earned the Sportsmanship honor.