Last week, I heard some news that made me give the Mississippi High School Activities Association a big thumbs up.
I was informed that the MHSAA notified the North Bolivar Consolidated School District that if the merger goes through between John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Mound Bayou and Broad Street High School in Shelby to form North Side High School, the athletic teams for the new school would be eligible for postseason play. Also, if the two schools stay, they will remain eligible for playoffs in 1A as well.
With the situation, the way it is in the NBCSD, the fact that student-athletes will have a chance to play for a championship if they earn the right during the season provides them with wonderful incentive. The MHSAA made the right decision.
Now, as we delve into the school year, we’re left with a very interesting dilemma. Will we have the John F. Kennedy Hornets and the Broad Street High School Jaguars in 1A or will we have the North Side High School Gators in 2A? That’s the million-dollar question.
A lot has been said about the merger. You have some folks that feel the merger should happen and others that don’t. The merger was announced on Jan. 22nd. Mound Bayou residents known as JFK United filed an injunction to stop the merger and the court date for that has been delayed multiple times. The next scheduled date is July 2.
I haven’t really formed an opinion on how wrong or right the merger is, but I will say that both JFK and BSHS have a ton of talented student-athletes. Last year alone, the BSHS girls basketball team won the Region 3-1A Title with both the BSHS and JFK girls teams going to the state playoffs. Also on the girls end, JFK won the 1A State Track and Field Title with BSHS coming in fourth. Between the Lady Hornets and Lady Jaguars, nine individual and relay state championships came back to Bolivar County. Broad Street has also been playing slow-pitch softball.
On the boys side, JFK finished third and Broad Street finished 10th in the 1A State Track and Field Meet that featured 28 schools. The two teams combined for 12 individual and relay top three finishes.
JFK went to the state playoffs in basketball and both JFK and Broad Street have promising young talent in that sport. The Hornets and Jaguars both went to the 1A State Playoffs in baseball and both teams have great young players in football.
There’s no doubt in my mind that these young student-athletes can succeed no matter if they’re 1A or 2A but this issue on the merger needs to be decided.
You have students, teachers and coaches waiting to know what’s going to happen and what their role will be for the upcoming school year.
JFK and BSHS have been great for this county, but North Side has potential for greatness if the merger goes through.
Both schools have been the center of their respective communities but the population numbers through out the county over the years including, Mound Bayou and Shelby, have declined.
According to United State Census Bureau, the population in Mound Bayou after the 2010 census was listed as 1,533, which is a 27.07 percent decrease from the 2,102 listed in the 2000 census. The population of Shelby for 2010 was listed as 2,229, which is a 23.82 percent decrease from the 2,926 listed in the 2000 census.
As recent as the 2012-13 school year, JFK and Broad Street were both in the 2A classification. Over the last five years, they’ve both been 1A. Classification assignment is determined by school enrollment.
Right now, we have athletic schedules that haven’t been finalized.
We have students, teachers, coaches and many other employees waiting for the official word. They want to know where they’ll be and what their role is in the upcoming school year. They want some certainty for next year, and I can’t blame them.
I know many people have July 2 circled on their calendar. I’ll be eager to see what will be decided but it has to be decided soon.
United States Census Bureau
Mound Bayou 2,102
Mound Bayou 1,533
Mound Bayou 1,408
Mississippi High School Activities Association
Classification Enrollment Numbers
Broad Street 164
Broad Street 138