Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2003

All is certainly well at Baldwin High

November 12, 2003

Good news has certainly surrounded Baldwin High School in the past few weeks. Yes, this is the Year of the Bulldog, as cartoonist Gerard Arantowicz has pointed out.

He drew that ahead of Monday night's School Board meeting where the vote was made which w ith any luck will finally put an end to the controversy over Robert Cormier's book "We All Fall Down."

It's back in the curriculum, with restrictions, which will hopefully satisfy both factions on its place at BHS. The board took the middle ground and th at's good. Let's put it behind us and move on towards more positive items at BHS and the entire district.

I'd like to think that the whole mess has been a learning situation for everyone involved. After all that's what education is all about, isn't it? There were tough lessons for the board, administrators, faculty, students and patrons alike. But everyone learned that involvement is important.

There certainly were mistakes made along the "book path," but in the end, the district -- and most importantly the students -- gained from the exercise. There's no need to rehash the mistakes. Let's all just take what we want from it and move forward.

It's in that regard we can take something from what BHS's sports teams have shown with state action. It all starte d seven years ago when Mike Spielman's boys cross country team discovered that hard work results in state championships.

Spielman's squads have since racked up an amazing six Class 4A state titles in a row. Last year his girls team jumped on board and won their first, then followed it this year with a repeat.

The runners have helped to inspire their fellow classmates. The girls tennis teams have made their share of state tournament appearances during that time, including this year's sixth-place finish.

But the real inspiration and learned lessons are shown by the volleyball and football teams. Four years ago, the volleyball team was average with several freshmen who are now seniors. Each year they worked harder and each year they got better. Last year was the first appearance for BHS at the state volleyball tournament since the early 1970s. This year the Bulldogs went further and placed second at state.

Along the way, this group of seniors rewrote the volleyball record books. Most notably in that category, the old record for wins was 21. Now it's 41. That pretty much says it all.

As for the football team, that's been a real exercise in building. When Mike Berg took over the program six years ago, the Bulldogs hadn't won a game in years. Not a single game. Every year since, there's been another step or two taken. First it was snapping that long losing streak, then it was moving to a 4-5 record, then it was 5-4 and then the step was made to a winning record.

Last year, the Bulldogs took another big st ep by qualifying for the state playoffs for the first time since 1993. This year's team has continued that progression by winning its first two playoff games to improve to 9-2 on the year. It marks the best showing for BHS football since the 1988 squad played for the state title.

Plus, this bunch of Bulldogs is still going. They have a third-round game at Fort Scott at 7 p.m. Friday. If they win that one, it's onto the sub-state finals on Nov. 21. The state title game is Nov. 29 in Topeka.

The Bulldogs have been unbeaten on the road this year, surprisingly enough. Their only two losses were to Paola the second game of the season and Topeka-Hayden during week eight, both at Liston Stadium.

There's been a huge following for the Bulldogs on those road trips. Let's make that continue Friday and keep the road winning streak alive.{?

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