At the end of each school year the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association names the recipients of Champions in Sportsmanship, which are awarded to schools that have completed an extensive application process judged by the DIAA Sportsmanship Committee.
For the seventh year, Caesar Rodney High School was named a Champion in Sportsmanship.
The statewide competition pits schools against 10 standards set by the DIAA. Member schools must submit a portfolio proving they’ve met the standards. The entire school and its student body must be involved.
“The most important thing is where this all starts from and that’s the families at home, without the support of the families of all of our kids, this wouldn’t happen,” said Caesar Rodney athletic director Bob Beron. “All we can control is what happens during a normal school day - I think we do a good job of holding all the students accountable and if we’re instilling good morals and sportsmanship, we’re ahead of the game.”
Supporting the growth of sportsmanship is a year-round effort, even during the summer months.
“We do preseason meetings in the gym before every season, with all of the kids in the bleachers, my assistant principal of athletics Amanda Mazzola and our building principal Sherry Kijowski,” Beron said. “We go over all of the expectations of what being an athlete at CR represents, doing so in our gym where we have all of our championship banners.”
During those preseason meetings, the CR leadership and student body go over their goals for the season, stressing the responsibilities that come with being an athlete for the Riders.
“Basically, we talk about what it means to be a good leader, we have some key points about what makes them a good leader,” Beron said. “We talk about the importance of the words on the front of the jersey they wear, not the name on the back and about everyone who has worn the jersey before and how we want to represent them as well.”
At CR, they’ve taken even more steps to instill good values when it comes to sportsmanship, creating what may be the state’s first student leadership academy.
“We take a bunch of selected student athletes and put them in the cafeteria to meet once a week for
about six weeks during the summer,” Beron said. “We go over all the things relative to leadership roles and captainship. We have guest speakers come in and beat that into the kids about the importance of what it’s like to be an important person in your sports programs. Really, the goal is to get them ready not only for their future high school years, but the years after high school too.”
Lake Forest also named
Three schools, Brandywine, Middletown and Mt. Pleasant won the award for the first time.
Lake Forest High School in Felton won for the seventh time in 21-year history of the award.
The award was given to 18 more schools who have now been named a Champion in Sportsmanship several times, including Caravel Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, Concord, Conrad School of Science, Glasgow, McKean, St. Mark’s, Sanford, Sussex Central, Sussex Tech, Tatnall, Tower Hill, William Penn, Woodbridge and Woodbridge Middle School.