Huron Valley Schools' Athletic Department

Did you know that approximately 70,000 spectators attended Lakeland and Milford sporting events last year? On average the Huron Valley community can choose from as many as 780 home events to attend. The options of viewing pleasure are expansive in that the Athletic Departments offer 129 competitive teams at the varsity and sub-varsity level. Sixty four percent of Lakeland and Milford students participated in either a fall, winter or spring sport during the 2009-2010 school year. Remarkably, this data provides a clear portrayal of how and why our community stays connected to Lakeland and Milford High Schools. At any given sporting event throughout the year, the faces in the crowd include a wide spectrum of personalities. Parents, staff, administrators, alumni, and local community members attend these events knowing the inherent values of high school sports in a community and school.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) also shares a similar perspective regarding community involvement: "School sports embrace local roots. School events attract administrators, teachers, students, parents and community members in one venue. How many other activities can boast such a crowd for a common cause? Time and money are precious commodities these days. It doesn't take much of either to travel to your local high school for an athletic event, whether alone or with your family, when compared to counterparts at the collegiate and professional level. In many areas, school sports are the backbone of the community."

Connecting with our alumni has never been as important as it is now. The economy has challenged the way we fund extracurricular activities. Similar to universities and higher level institutions, we have asked our alumni and community members to assist in our fund-raising efforts. It comes as no surprise that support from these groups continues to help maintain sports programming. For information on how to donate/give to the Athletic Department Alumni Foundation, please visit Lakeland's athletic site External Linkor Milford's athletic site External Link.

In addition, social networks will allow the community and alumni to stay connected to the athletic departments. Information sent to these social networks will include news related to the LHS and MHS Athletic Departments. For more information, please contact Chris Ceresa, MHS Athletic Director or Greg Michaels, Lakeland High School Athletic Director.

Last year, Milford hosted 15 major athletic events, in which 315 teams across the local area attended. Thousands of parents and student athletes made their way to Milford High School. Hosting these types of events is considered a great showcase for Huron Valley and the local community. Local businesses benefit by having these families from other schools travel to the area. More importantly, the generous donations from these businesses have maintained sport participation fees at a reasonable rate. Recent discussion over participation fees continues to be at the forefront of debates across the state. Participation fees for sports are here to stay, yet when compared to club or non-sanctioned MHSAA sports it’s a “good bang for your buck.”

Often, educators are the subject of blame for the decline in U.S. education. Negative opinions generated through research or editorials influence local community attitudes regarding the direction of education. When these reflections begin to drift into the athletic department, it’s important to remember that athletics is the backbone that keeps the community connected to the high school in many positive ways.

Typically, when we hear of these criticisms, we reply with the following:

• 64% of the students at the high school participate in sports. Did you know that at every grade level last year athletes had approximately a .5 higher GPA than non-athletes (Average Cumulative GPA for athletes above 3.0)?

• Furthermore, did you know that 11th grade athletes scored approximately 2 points higher on the ACT than nonathletes last year?

Students who participate in sports are:

• 49% less likely to use drugs
• 33% less likely to smoke cigarettes
• 37% less likely to become teen parents
• Less prone to childhood obesity

Participation in school activities provides all students – including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, minorities and those with otherwise less than distinguished academic achievements in high school – a measurable gain in college admissions test scores according to researchers writing for the College Entrance Examination Board in 2005.

Connecting with our community and alumni through sports must not be overlooked or underestimated. It is a fundamental element that makes Huron Valley a great place to live, learn and work. Whether we are filling the stadium or gymnasium to cheer on our teams, raising money for those in need, working on projects related to class, or just shopping for the holidays, together everyone benefits. Memories are formed from the meaningful experiences that are created throughout our lives. We are fortunate to have such a special bond that reaches out to so many. Embrace that bond as we continue to persevere through these challenging times.