Interscholastic conference provides opportunities for student success
The Marshalltown Community School District anxiously awaits the new opportunities for increased student participation, school pride and individual student and team success that the creation of the new interscholastic conference will provide in the 2022-23 school year. Marshalltown plans to form a new 10-team conference with the districts of Ames, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Mason City and Ottumwa and believes this decision is in the best interest of our students, families and our community.
Marshalltown High School has a rich history of interscholastic excellence and success dating back to the early 1900’s. It has achieved 34 state sanctioned state team championships with the first being in wrestling in 1925 and the most recent this year’s 2021 boys’ bowling team. Individual statewide athletic achievements have been recognized, since 1965, on a Wall of Honor found on the south endcap wall of the MHS Roundhouse and soon all documented pre-1965 individual state-wide athletic achievements will be recognized on a new Wall of Honor on the north endcap wall of the MHS Roundhouse. It’s important for student-athletes to know of such prior achievements and history in order to dream big and aspire toward excellence. Similar recognition has been facilitated by the school district by recognizing all state performers in band, chorus, orchestra and theatre. This honor wall can be found in the lobby of the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center.
Though winning individual and team championships are memorable, fun and what student-athletes, coaches, parents and community members aspire toward, the purpose and value of interscholastic participation and competition are educational and support the academic vision and mission of our schools. The Marshalltown CSD vision is to “Prepare all learners, though an unparalleled culture of excellence, to be productive and engaged citizens in a diverse world.” The mission of the Marshalltown Community School District is to “Develop learners who have the knowledge, skills and positive mindset to successfully pursue a meaningful future through personalized learning experiences.”
Interscholastic activity participation may be the best way for students to learn and develop the skills for post-secondary education and careers. They learn critical thinking and problem solving skills which enable them to exercise sound judgement and reasoning to analyze issues and overcome problems. The improvement process they experience through practice develops high standards and expectations relative to work ethic, communication and collaboration, sportsmanship and leadership skills. It should be the moral imperative of school districts, city governments and the community-at-large to provide and support a rich variety of youth activities for students of all ages and to work extremely hard to remove any barriers for students and parents to access those important educational and career readiness opportunities. We are fortunate in Marshalltown to have the Marshalltown Youth Foundation whose very mission is to remove barriers to access for participation in youth activities.
The formation of this interscholastic conference will provide a more equitable playing field for each school to build and enhance existing programs, experience more success than they have in the recent past, build meaningful and engaging school-based programming for students, and rebuild school and community pride. Opportunities abound for the potential of non-athletic competitions, showcases, events, etc. to be developed, implemented and hosted within the newly formed conference. The possibilities for these new opportunities and possibilities for student participation, engagement and recognition are endless and very exciting for current and future Bobcats.
Theron Schutte is the superintendent of the
Marshalltown Community School District.