GREENFIELD — Gerry and Nicole Miller took their family on a vacation last week. For Gerry, he said it was nice to be able to unplug a little before the new school year starts.
Last week was Family Week, a new measure put in place by the Iowa Department of Education and adopted by the Iowa High School Athletic Association and Girls Athletic Union. No school activities were to take place between July 25 and Aug. 1. Fall sports and fine arts camps were already in full swing by Monday morning, however practices can’t begin until Monday, Aug. 9.
“I thought it was a great idea, and I know I’m not necessarily alone in that,” said Miller. “I think from what I saw from other school administrators across the state, and coaches, we’ve talked for years about giving kids a break, but even us adults need a break. I joked to people [Monday] because it’s August and it was my first day of school, but I feel refreshed and I feel great. You get time to step away from everything.”
The state softball tournament wrapped up Aug. 23 while the baseball state tournament finished a week later.
“This will provide a built-in break for everyone involved in Iowa high school athletics—participants, parents, coaches, officials, and school administrators—and an opportunity to prioritize family, friends, rest, and activities away from sports,” IGHSAU executive director Jean Berger said.
Next year, the state baseball tournament will run concurrently with the state softball tournament, a week earlier than this year, providing for all student-athletes, coaches and activity sponsors a break before the new school year cycle begins.
Miller said that next year, baseball teams will be allowed to play much earlier than they have before, on May 16, which is before state track. That, and a change in how the Pride of Iowa Conference schedules baseball and softball games, will mean he still has some things to iron out with the “chess board” of next summer’s scheduling.
Ultimately, Miller said he’s excited to start another school year at Nodaway Valley with academics and activities. As a side note, this will be the first year Orient-Macksburg students are welcomed to participate in some activities with the Wolverines their school doesn’t offer.
“Something like this really gets you rejuvenated for what’s happening right now. [All of our students] are another year older as of today. August rolls around and we’ve got volleyball camp, football camp, cross country’s up and going, then next Monday it’s ‘go time.’ In two weeks, the first bell rings and it’s school time,” Miller said. “It’s good, when you know that rush is coming, to recharge those batteries.”