The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

Soccer Showcases: Affecting Absences for Students

Kate Jamie pointing to California, which is where she went for the most recent showcase

Many students at Highlands High School are in extracurricular activities that don’t involve the school. Most of the time, students have to travel for these activities and they have to miss school, more specifically, college soccer showcases. 

Sophomore Macy Hargis said: “Soccer showcases open up later education opportunities for older players, so I think these showcases show significant connects to education. Some of these trips can lead players on a college path, and help them to decide their future education goals.”

These showcases are considered unexcused and that impacts the student-athletes that go to Highlands. In past years, these types of things were considered excused, but since COVID these rules have changed so that students can’t go on trips and have them be excused. 

Principal John Darnell said: “We went from before COVID, you could qualify for extra things, and then we went to you have this many days and then we had 10 parents notes where everything qualifies, and this year that’s gone and so when we consider what those extra excuses are, things like vacations don’t qualify, sporting events aren’t considered enhanced educational opportunities.”

For the Central Office to excuse an absence, they look at is the excuse is worthy to be excused, and they make sure to verify each excuse.

Assistant superintendent Jamee Flaherty said: “What we discussed at central office with our leadership team at all levels is that those events that are coming to you to be verified at the school level to either be excused or unexcused, and if you’re in good standing then it would be looking at the event itself, is it worthy of an opportunity?”

The Central Office has to take into consideration what kind of student a particular person is. They have to make sure that the student is fit to be able to be excused for certain reasons

Jamme Flaherty said: “…we want you, from central office, to know that or consider the current standing of the student. You know what about the students grades, what about the current students attendance, what about the students behavior. If they’ve already missed, lets say, 30 days of school, that would be an automation reflection of more than likely not to be excused.”

Students must prepare a couple days ahead of leaving so that they aren’t caught behind and so that they dont get punished acedemically. Students must also worry about making up assignments that they miss for full credit. 

Senior Kate Jamie said: “I first start by talking to all my teachers and giving them a run down of kind of when I’m going to be out and if there are any assignments they need to give me. I try to do it at least 3 or 4 days in advance so if they need to print anything they can, so I’m going to have work to do while I’m away and I’m not going to be caught getting behind.”

Soccer showcases provide an opportunity for students to be able to see which colleges are interested in them and for them to get the opportunity to see what playing in college would be like. 

Senior Laney Smith said: “The school does not understand that at these showcases, the soul purpose is for college coaches to recruit players. Most if not all of the girls playing in showcases are trying to catch a coaches eye and potentially get recruited to go to that school.”

College showcases are very different from going in playing in a college showcase, students are not going to the college but rather playing in front of college coaches. 

Darnell said: “Would this be a college visit because you do get those and we felt like even though there might be people there that are watching it, that its not the same as going on campus and visiting it.”

Having these resrictions poses problems with students trying to get these oppurtunities for these college showcases. Most students think these showcases are important for their future in sports.

Jaime said: ​​“I think college showcases are important and should be excused because that’s how I got recruited to play D1 soccer, I think having the opportunity as a high school student is one of the best opportunities given, it can really set yourself up for the future and even a career in sports.” 

The problem that comes with missing school is that making up work can be difficult and even though students reach out before leaving, the school sometimes punishes students for leaving.

Macy Hargis said: I think that as long as you turn in your assignments on time, or communicate other alternatives with your teacher prior to missing, that the work should be counted as full credit.”

Having these showcases marked as unexcused makes it hard because students are given an oppurtunity that they might not get again. 

Smith said: I think the rule should be changed because playing in these showcases are only beneficial to us and our future as athletes and academic students. Going to a college to play soccer is also going to college to get a degree, just like school sets us up for. It just so happens that sometimes we have to miss days to be able to pursue our goals of being a student athletes in college.”

College soccer showcases is an ongoing dilema between students and administration. As of now the policy stands that college showcases will remain unexcused.

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