Showing signs of progress

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Marion Schools union going just about as expected, still issues to work out

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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With the beginning of fall sports just weeks away, Marion Schools has had more than just on-field issues to deal with.

The school’s creation – brought about when Marion Military Institute’s high school and Marion Academy joined – has brought on a gaggle of other issues.

How will the students – and for that matter, the parents – accept the union of the two schools? What will the official name be? What kind of logo will represent the school?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

But for now, said director of athletics Dr. Michelle Ivey, things are going pretty well.

“Football and volleyball have both started (practicing), and the kids are pretty excited to get going,” Ivey said. “The kids and coaches are working together. We’re still going to be called Marion Schools or Marion Prep. The girls may wear Marion Academy uniforms, and the boys may wear MMI uniforms. That’s more of a financial issue. We’re just going to mix and match.

“I think when we first came up with the idea, we probably didn’t think about those things right away. We were trying to do what was best for both schools.”

The school moved up to AA in AISA, meaning the teams will have even more work cut out for them.

Some teams take years to develop chemistry, and Marion’s players are being thrown into the fire after working with one another over a single summer.

Despite that, there have been some encouraging signs.

“Things are coming along very well,” said headmaster and football coach Don Parrotte. “A lot of the younger ball players are from Marion Academy. There are some with pretty good size, and they’re learning. They’re eager and enthusiastic. Certainly, we’re going to be pretty small with our numbers.

“I was surprised with the new kids and the way they came back. They were in much better shape than I expected. I’d say they’re two weeks ahead of where I thought they’d be.”

The team completed three-a-day practices this week. The rigorous work schedule hopefully will combat some of the problems caused by a thin depth chart.

“Conditioning is the part of our game we have to work on the most because we have 20 now,” Parrotte said. “We’ll pick up a few after school begins and have 25 to 26 when the season starts.”

Taking everything into consideration, all the other problems are fairly minor.

Some things about the upstart are going to matter more to most, but as long as the general good is served, the school will be on the right track.

“I know it’s an issue, but we’re not going to let the colors or the mascot interfere,” Ivey said. “Those are not the most important things right now. Everything is going to iron itself out.

“It’s going to take more than three or six months.”