With the announcement on April 9 by the governor that schools would remain closed for the reminder of the academic year also came the realization to student athletes that spring sports would not return. St. James High School Athletic Director Greg Harlan put together his thoughts to all the Tigers who never made it on the field this spring.
“As the news of Governor Parson's school closure announcement begins to sink in with everyone, it makes you take a look back on the achieved accomplishments and the ones never given an opportunity to strive for,” said Harlan. “It has been rewarding to see so many of our graduating seniors set goals for themselves and reach them.
“The dedication and hard work they have put in for each of their activities, whether in the classroom, on the field or on the stage, is a testament to each student and the support given by their coaches, school, parents and community. I hope each graduating senior and returning student can look back on the positive aspects of St. James Schools and see everything good.
“Although this particular time is difficult for everyone, better times are ahead. We will all share in the new building project throughout the district and look forward to the near future when life returns to normal and we can all come together to enjoy graduation, enjoy the new facilities, and enjoy the relationships which have been built throughout a lifetime together.
“My advice to the graduating seniors is to use this unfortunate situation to better understand that nothing in life is guaranteed. When given opportunities in life, don't second guess yourself on whether or not you should try. Yes, you should—because the opportunity may never be there again. As you move forward outside the halls of St James High School, you will have the chance to do things which may be new and uncomfortable. Do not let doubt and fear of the unknown keep you from trying. Become the people you believe you can be because you already are, you simply have to do the things necessary to make it happen.
“To the underclassmen, shortly you will be given the chance to resume your St. James life. Take advantage of it in both the classroom and in your activities. As we have now learned, things which we thought would always be there may not be. Do not wait to prepare yourself to PREPARE to succeed. Take the chance to go out for something new you have never done...whatever it is! You still have the chance to make it great, take advantage of it.”
Following Governor Parson’s announcement, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) announced the cancelation of all remaining post-season events for the 2019-20 school year.
“This decision is very difficult for all involved especially given the impact it will have on our students, parents, coaches, teachers, and administrators throughout the state,” said MSHSAA Executive Director Dr. Kerwin Urhahn. “We thank all of the participants, the coaches/directors/advisors, the administrations, the parents, and everyone else who has dedicated tremendous amounts of time, passion, and effort to these events.”
The biggest impact of this decision will be felt by the seniors, many of whom have exhausted their eligibility without taking the field, court or course.
“To our senior participants, we thank you for everything you have done for your schools and communities and wish you the very best in your bright futures,” Urhahn continued. “While this is a difficult ending, the lessons you’ve learned and friendships you’ve made through high school activities will last your lifetime.”