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franklin county times

RCS shares thoughts on athletics, academics balance

The Russellville City School System has been known for years as a powerhouse when it comes to athletics. With state-of-the-art facilities and multiple championship teams and championship game appearances, especially in recent years, it’s easy to see why RCS has received such notoriety when it comes to sports.

But what some might not realize is the RCS motto “A Tradition of Excellence” applies to more than just athletics, which is something administrators want to emphasize as they prepare this summer to head into the upcoming school year.

“Academics and academic-related clubs and groups are just as important at our schools,” Superintendent Heath Grimes said. “We want to make sure we have an outlet for each one of our students to shine. While some students do that on the ball field, the basketball court, the track or at the golf course, we have many students who do their shining inside the classroom – in core classes, electives and career technical classes – and those who shine in extracurriculars, like our band and our choir programs and groups like RCS Engineering, Future Business Leaders of America or Health Occupation Students of America. Those accomplishments are vital to our school system as well.”

And many times, Grimes said, athletics and academics go hand-in-hand.

“We actually had five seniors on our championship baseball team who scored a 28 or better on their ACT,” Grimes said. “To me, this is an impressive thing to have students who are excelling in both academics and athletics. And that is true for many of our other student athletes as well who play different sports.

“We want our older students to be role models both on the field and in the classroom, and fortunately that is what we have here at Russellville.”

There are academic requirements in place for those who play athletics, and Grimes said the school system sticks to those guidelines.

“We have many talented student athletes who have the ability to continue their given sport at the collegiate level,” he said, “but for those whose athletic time will end at high school and those who will still be pursuing academics in college while playing a sport, we want them to have a strong academic foundation to continue with whatever career plans they may have. We never want a student’s time in our school system to be one-sided. Balance among academics, athletics and extracurricular activities is key.”