More than 6,000 people have signed a popular campaign on Change.org started by the father of a high school student with Down syndrome in Michigan, who will be prevented from participating on his school’s basketball and football teams during his senior year. Dean Dompierre started the campaign on Change.org after the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) refused to change a rule that forbids students older than 19 years of age from participating in high school athletics. Dean’s son, Eric, will be 20 years old during his senior year, because he started school later due to his disability. “Eric is who he is today because of sports. He’s never let the fact that he has a handicap be the handicap. He’s as responsible and as physically fit as he is because he’s been able to participate in athletics. I would hate to see that taken away from him,” said Dompierre. “Eric has also been an inspiration to our entire community. I watch him play when he’s on the field or on the court, but I also spend a lot of time watching the crowd because it’s heartwarming to see the unconditional support that they give him.” Dompierre’s campaign on Change.org is asking the MHSAA to change their rules, and allow students who may have started school later due to physical or intellectual disabilities, to play a full four years of high school sports. This rule change would put Michigan in line with 23 other states, including neighboring Ohio, that allow student athletes who have experienced a hardship due to intellectual or physical disabilities early in life to play for four years in high school. If the rule is not changed, Dompierre’s son Eric will not be able to participate in high school athletics during his senior year next year. “Eric has the support of his basketball coach, his football coach, all of his teammates, and even administrators at his high school,” said Dompierre. “Even our high school rivals support Eric. When he’s in the game and makes a basket or kicks an extra point, the crowd just goes wild, and everyone leaves the gym understanding what high school sports is really all about.” Two weeks ago, a local TV station awarded Eric the “play of […]
Michigan High School Athletic Association
The Rockford girls cross-country team’s academic performance matched its athletic performance when they were honored for having the third highest team grade-point average (GPA) of the 27 teams that competed at the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) state finals on Saturday, Nov. 6. The Lady Rams raced to a third-place team finish, which continued their legacy of being one of the most dominant teams in Division I. As a team, the Lady Rams recorded a GPA of 3.858 on an un-weighted 4.0 scale. This was calculated by averaging the top five GPAs of the seven runners racing at the state finals. Leading the way academically were seniors Anna Bos and Allison Hazy along with junior Taylor Manett, each of whom received individual All State honors. Individual honors are received by finishing the race in the top half of the 220 racers and then having one of the top 30 GPAs out of those athletes. Academically, Bos finished 17th, Manett 22nd and Hazy 28th. These girls are each ranked within the top two percent of their grade at Rockford High School (RHS). Out of 625 in the senior class, Bos is sixth and Hazy is 12th. Out of 633 in the junior class at RHS, Manett is fourth. “As a group of athletes, the girls that run for Rockford are really hard workers. Accolades like being Academic All State prove that our team is not only athletic, however, but truly scholar athletes who take their hard work ethic into the classroom with them,” stated Coach Benjamin Watson.
21 medals earned by DENISE WEBB The excitement level was like no other this past weekend at the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) state finals as hundreds of swimmers and divers from 51 Division I high schools assembled at Eastern Michigan University’s Michael H. Jones Natatorium to determine the “best of the best” in the state of Michigan. The MHSAA state finals began with preliminaries for diving on Thursday, March 13, and swimming on Friday, March 14, followed by the final meet on Saturday. “To think… 77 Division I high schools in the state of Michigan are invited to send qualified swimmers and divers to this meet,” stated Coach Tom Parks. “Several of the 51 schools that competed this year only had a couple of swimmers and divers qualify. Rockford had 13. That’s a lot! It’s been several years since we have had this much talent to send to the state level.” The Rams’ state team consisted of seniors Tyler Augustine, Guy Gordon, Mark Hecksel, Andrew Huizen, Quinton Rodriguez (diver), Andrew Sakala; juniors Derik Bothma, Alex Devries, Brian Ginebaugh, Tyler Johnson (diver), Connor Thelen; sophomores Ben Fredrickson, LJ McCauley (diver); and freshman Bryan Wasberg. A swimmer can only compete in four events at the finals-two individual races and two relays-and to do so he must place in the top 16 of those events at the preliminaries. Not many swimmers qualify for all four of the allowable events. Of Rockford’s state swimmers, only Augustine and Wasberg placed in the top 16 of four events.