Posted by Justin Rice May 9, 2012 08:13 PM
<p class="byline">By Hannah Becker, Globe Correspondent</p>
The second item on Tuesday’s Boston Public Schools Committee meeting, after the traditional pledge of allegiance, was recognition of the middle school basketball championship teams.
The school committee recognized both the Rogers Middle School girls’ team and the Orchard Gardens boys’ team for their accomplishments in winning the Boston City Middle School championships.
Rev. Dr. Gregory G. Groover, chairperson, along with Superintendent Carol Johnson, presented the award to the girls’ squad, which defeated Edison 48-41 to win the title.
“We are thrilled to honor the boys’ and girls city champions,” said Groover.
He then presented the plaque to the members of the team in attendance along with assistant coach Lajuane Harvey.
“We extend our congratulations to you and with you continued good fortune,” said Johnson.
Harvey said his team was excited to be honored, but a little nervous, not knowing what to expect.
“It’s the school’s first championship and they had an undefeated season,” Harvey said. “They are very excited and we are proud of our girls. We had a bunch of eighth grade girls, and had good balance and good chemistry. It was a good season.”
Following the recognition of the girls’ team, Vice-Chairperson Michael O’Neill presented the Orchard Gardens boys’ squad with their plaque, “in recognition of winning the 2011-2012 Boston Public Schools middle school championship,” O’Neill said.
Orchard Gardens defeated Tobin 36-35 in overtime to take home the city title.
“It meant a lot of them, when the regular season ended it was school vacation, so it was nice to come get recognized,” Orchard Gardens coach Nate Proulx said. “They were really excited about it.”
The night was more than just a recognition of the two championship teams, but a recognition of the progress the Boston Public Schools has made in the area of athletics, specifically middle school athletics.
“[Middle school athletics] is everything, it’s the feeder system to high school,” said Proulx. “Middle school is the place where you can catch a kid who is off track a little bit.”
Following the presentation of the plaques to the two squads, Superintendent Johnson also took a moment to recognize Darlene Knight, who is in charge of middle school sports under BPS Athletic Director Ken Still.
“We’ve had a really great increase in student participation in the middle years,” Johnson said. “And I think it’s been more competitive.”
Johnson also noted the increase in female participation in sports, especially at the middle school level.
“It has been an important aspect in giving our children more physical health and education,” Johnson said, citing Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s support of the fight against childhood obesity.
Johnson credited the hard work of Knight, along with the coaches and administrators of the schools and Boston Public Schools’ relationship with the Boston Scholar Athlete program, for the increase in quality and participation of the athletic programs in the Boston public middle schools.
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- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.