Even if a child is a sports prodigy, parents put school over athletics

Ryan McCarthy, Sports Editor

For some, school can be the path to success in life; for others, it can be an interference from their desired path to glory, making the dreaded split between passion and school that much more apparent.

Over the past year, this divide has become most apparent between high school athletics and education, as athletic phenomenons have dropped out of school in favor of focusing on an athletic career. The issue became more public, apparent, and worrisome after LaVar Ball pulled his youngest son, LaMelo, out of school to focus on a possible professional basketball career.

When asked if the same instances plaguing high school sports can occur at Branham, many parents of these student-athletes are making sure that “student” stays in front of “athlete.”

“If I had any say in my child’s education, it would take something miraculous for me to take him out of school, for any reason,” says one parent, whose son plays basketball at Branham. “Taking children out of school for things that shouldn’t take priority over school is preposterous.”

Another depicts Ball’s action as “appalling” and a problem that needs to be fixed, adding that it should not exist in the first place.

“It’s incredible that an adult would take a child’s education away for a path that may not even work out in the end,” says another parent, whose daughter plays softball. “Education should be a priority, and now [Ball] has made it look irrelevant to student-athletes.”

Part of keeping students interested in school is to have engaging, collaborative classroom environment, which helps motivate students to keep coming back.

When asked how engagement in class can help students succeed, Tania Eaton, a U.S. history teacher at Branham, was adamant that the right learning environment can mean the difference between leaving prepared for the next step or leaving with nothing.

“If kids are engaged and passionate about the topics and are given the opportunity to research something pertinent in their lives, they might be more motivated to finish their school rather than going into a profession early,” Eaton said.

In order to convince them to stay in school over a professional career, not only do students need to stay motivated, but nothing is possible without the right guidance and learning environments, which are some of the irreplaceable aspects of life in school.

“Increasing student engagement and giving them the freedom to explore things that they are passionate about allows students to become more interested in their schoolwork,” Eaton says. “As content becomes more appealing to them, the more engaged they are in their schoolwork, helping motivate them to stay in school.”