Choosing the right school starts early - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Choosing the right school starts early

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Posted: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 5:00 pm | Updated: 5:09 pm, Thu Jul 14, 2011.

 

The parents went to one school and asked the administrator why that school would be the right fit for their kid.

Then when they didn't hear exactly what they wanted, they moved to the next.

This process happened over and over. Four schools in five hours.

No, I am not talking about the Faunces.

I am talking just about every family that has a child getting close to entering kindergarten like mine. My wife and I did just that recently in deciding where our 4-year-old daughter will attend her first school. She has another full year of preschool ahead of her and we were already putting in applications and getting our names on lotteries.

It all seemed so silly to me, but I know it has to be done. More importantly, it got me thinking and that is never good.

What if my daughter develops into a talented athlete and I don't want her going to the high school in our boundary (Dobson High in Mesa). What would I be willing to do to make sure she has the best chance to succeed and maybe save my family tons of cash by getting a college scholarship?

Open enrollment is there for the taking. I could send her anywhere. It's an attractive idea.

Parents do it all of the time for their athletes, but what gets scrutinized is when they move from school to school after their freshman year.

I am far from being at that point. I'd like to think we wouldn't jump around, but how much different is it than what my wife and I are doing these days?

We are just trying to find the best option for our daughter. Of course the reasoning is different when the child is 4 and not 14, but at the heart of it is the idea of putting your child in a position to succeed.

Right now, the Mountain Pointe football program is one of those ideal destinations.

The Pride is coming off two straight state semifinals and have a highly visible coach in Norris Vaughan, who has done nothing but win at Wickenburg and Mountain Pointe since coming here after a hall of fame career in Georgia.

It has led to an influx of new faces in the program. Football website message boards chart every move and recruiting accusations are made. I have received voicemails and emails making the same charges.

Every situation is different.

Sometimes it is a parent(s) who is overzealous. Some want more for their student athletes than is even reasonable and make a move that backfires. Others, believe it or not, have nothing going on other than the fact they bought a new house in a different school boundary.

Who knows exactly why a change of address - domicile and school - is made, but the first assumption usually involves recruiting. Or that the family is searching out the best deal possible.

It doesn't always have to be cloak and dagger stuff.

There are cases like Mountain Pointe's Martin Moriel, who started at Mountain Pointe, went to Hamilton and came back to graduate from Mountain Pointe while playing football and track.

In between those four years his mother got a new job, they bought a house in Chandler, she became ill and they ended back in Ahwatukee Foothills.

From what I have been told there was no ulterior motives involved - just life.

That's what it is at times - circumstances. That and that alone. No coach masterminding and pulling strings to make sure it happens.

Yet in today's anonymous Internet world, nearly every transfer ends up with the coach, player, parents and team being ripped.

Former Cactus Shadow two-way starter Cameron Larson and his younger brother, Nathaniel, recently transferred to Saguaro, with his father citing the school's math and science academy as the main reason.

At face value it makes sense considering Larson wants to be an engineer, but the other side of it sees him going from a school that lost its dynamic head coach (Chad DeGrenier to Mesa Mountain View) to another program that continually wins state titles and places players in college.

I am not naive about all of this. I have been covering high school sports for too many years in several states to think there isn't some funny business going on at times. It happens at all levels.

At the same time, not each case has a grassy knoll with a second quarterback waiting in the distance or a Zapruder recruiting tape.

Just life.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com

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Jason P. Skoda
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