Huntsville High School recently received the Outstanding Sportsmanship Award for Class 4A from the Arkansas Activities Association.
The AAA presented the award to HHS Principal Roxanne Enix and Assistant Principal Mike Cain during last week’s meeting of the Arkansas Association of Education Administrators in Little Rock.
The award recognized the school, athletes, participants and community for its sportsmanship during the 2018-19 school year, Enix said.
“It is a community award. It’s not just a high school award,” she said. “It’s everybody. I think that says a lot. We all want to win the big trophy for basketball or football or baseball, but I think this one is as equally – if not more – impressive than the others.”
The AAA oversees not only sports in the state, but also such activities as band, Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders, Quiz Bowl, cheer, drama and more.
Athletic Director Tom McCollough said Huntsville won the award about 10 years ago.
“At the end of the school year, you rank the teams in your conference based on their sportsmanship,” he said. “So all the other schools all vote on it. So it was voted by our conference that we should win this, so I’m real proud of it.”
Enix said the award honors the entire community, beyond just the students of the Huntsville High School.
“[The award] does say community on it, so it’s judged on how our community acts,” she said. “AAA, we think of it being athletics, but there’s other pieces of it as well. There’s an athletic side of AAA, then there’s academics. It’s more than just the athletic piece.”
Enix said an example of the community’s effort toward sportsmanship came last football season when the Eagles played at Berryville. It was the first game played in Berryville’s new stadium.
“When we went to Berryville to open their stadium with the inaugural game, I was tagged into several Facebook posts of people in Berryville talking about how clean it was left,” Enix said. “They couldn’t find any paper or any trash in the stands where our fans sat. Everybody said it was just unheard of that we kept it that clean.”
Enix said many students volunteer their time in the community, including with cleaning up from storm damage. Last year, baseball and FFA students were among those who helped clean up local properties that were damaged by straight-line winds.
“Our kids do a lot that people don’t realize,” Enix said.
Enix said administrators at the AAEA meeting went into the AAA portion, where the award was announced.
“I was shocked. It was like the ‘Price Is Right,’” she said. “It was a total surprise.”
McCollough said both students and the community were recognized.
“It’s something that our community deserves because I believe that we have great people in this community,” McCollough said. “We have great kids in our school and we have great faculty at our school. I think it’s a lot of hard work to be recognized by this – the things our administrators do to help with not only athletics but the other aspects of the AAA.”
McCollough said that sometimes in today’s sports climate, sportsmanship takes a step back.
“To be recognized, it means a lot. Sportsmanship is something that everybody wants but it’s not always something that is seen,” he said. “There’s so much negative things in the world today as far as sports are concerned, especially ... For our school to be recognized is really good.”
Enix said students at Huntsville are told they represent more than just themselves, especially during out-of-town trips to games and competition.
“When our kids go somewhere else, you’re representing yourself, your coach, coach McCollough and me, and I think that’s something we tell them from the get-go,” Enix said. “You’re not just Tommy out here – you’re Huntsville.”