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Remember our athletes at budget time

Cheering crowds can be heard throughout the North Country this fall. And why not? Student-athletes from our schools are accomplishing some remarkable feats on the gridiron, in the gym, on the pitch, on the cross country course and in the pool.

Peru looks like a state championship contender in football. Chazy is again dominating girls soccer. Ticonderoga hopes to be one of the top teams at this year’s state cross country championship race.

There’s plenty to cheer for — on and off the playing field. Many of the region’s best athletes are also the best students. That’s no surprise. Study after study has shown the positive aspects of interscholastic sports.

A doctoral study of high school athletes in North Carolina has shown high school athletes routinely out-perform non-athletes in the classroom.

“The most surprising aspect of the study was not that athletes as a whole do better, but the percentage of difference for each of the seven variables,” said Gary Overton of East Carolina University, who did the report. “To have a major difference in one would not have been surprising, but in all seven is a different story. And the differences held true for whatever comparison we were making or however we examined the data — by gender, by different ethnic groups, no matter how we did it.”

The study looked at grade point average, attendance rate, two different end-of-course testing components, discipline referrals, dropout rate and graduation rate. The results:

— the mean GPA for athletes was 2.98 and for non-athletes 2.17;

— the mean school on year-end tests in algebra was 8 percent higher for athletes and 11 percent better on year-end English exams;

— athletes missed 6.3 days of school a year compared by 11.9 for non-athletes;

— discipline referrals for athletes were 10 percent fewer than for non-athletes;

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