Pam Dudding Contributing writer
True competition is when rivalries can compete against each other at the highest level, but when it is all said and done, they can shake hands and talk to each other with positive affirmation.
This year, Craig County High School (CCHS) received two prestigious awards for its sportsmanship – the Claudia Dodson Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award and the Stay in the Game Award.
Said Principal Melissa Whiting, “This is the second time that Craig County High received the Claudia Dodson Award but the first time that both the Claudia Dodson and ‘Stay in The Game’ Award were given to CCHS.”
Added Chris Robinson, Virginia High School (VHSL) Assistant Director, “I consider this to be the Virginia High School League’s most prestigious award. It’s the only award that the entire school is graded on.”
He continued, “the award is named to honor the memory of Claudia Dodson, a VHSL Assistant Director from 1971-2002 and a 2003 National High School Fame inductee, who passed away in 2007.”
There is no limit on the number of schools that might be recognized within a given year. The selection process includes a self-assessment and a peer review.
Rules state that the school self-assessment includes 50 one-point areas. Schools with no ejections must meet an 80 percent threshold. Schools with one ejection must meet a 90 percent threshold and schools with more than one ejection are not eligible for the award in that year.
Each school must solicit and have submitted directly to VHSL Assistant Director for Compliance Tom Dolan three peer review recommendations from schools which they participate with on a regular basis
“The Claudia Dodson VHSL Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Awards are given by the Virginia High School League each year to honor schools who make sportsmanship a priority in their schools.” Whiting said before adding, “the ‘Stay-in-the-Game’ Award is given to schools with no athletic ejections for all sports seasons.”
Whiting added that in addition to the ejection criteria, the schools must receive positive reviews from peer high schools, though those comments from other schools are not made available to the nominated schools.
“CCHS promotes sportsmanship through coach training, pep rallies, and constant communication between coaches, athletes, parents, the athletic coordinator and the athletic director,” Whiting noted.
CCHS was also the only school in the Pioneer District to receive both awards.
“CCHS has a very strong rivalry with Eastern Montgomery High School,” Whiting said. “This competitive relationship has been promoted in a positive manner through meetings with the senior athletes from each school.”
Last spring, the two groups met for lunch at Famous Anthony’s in Salem and this fall, immediately prior to the football game, they met again for dinner at the Homeplace in Catawba.
“Both events were attended by players, coaches and administration and resulted in an improved relationship between the two athletic teams,” Whiting added.
She proudly noted that “CCHS was one of 24 high schools (out of 386) to receive the Claudia Dodson Award for the school year of 2018-19.” (The schools were not awarded in any numerical order.)
This award was presented to Whiting at the October VHSL Annual Meeting in Charlottesville. Whiting is the Athletic Director and Carrie Hutton is the Athletic Coordinator.