By Brandon HENSLEY
Rosemont Middle School held its flag football game against visiting Wilson on Feb. 9 and while the game was, and is, important, it’s what’s also happening around the field that excites Principal Cynthia Livingston these days.
A throng of students sat or stood along the near fence for the game. In front of them were cheerleaders, dressed in blue with sparkly white trim, waving pom-poms and hollering out various cheers. At the near end of the field stood the school drum line, and maybe they drowned out the PA announcer and the coaches sometimes, but that hardly put a damper on what the day represented.
For the record, Rosemont prevailed in a defensive struggle (or an offensively-challenged one, take your pick) 2-0. Yes, a football game was held in February, and the score was 2-0. But these are different times altogether for the school.
Livingston said what is happening this year with Rosemont’s extra-curricular activities is a sort of renaissance thanks to the Mary Pinola/CV Chamber of Commerce Education Endowment Fund. The grant allowed the school to receive a total of $5,000 for 2011-12, and it has allowed students to take more pride in their school and be a part of something bigger, said Livingston, who was previously the principal at Freemont Elementary.
“What really struck me is, coming from the elementary school to the middle school, the need to really encourage pro-social activities for after-school stuff,” she said.
The grant has covered everything from football and basketball to cheerleading and the drum line. Livingston also said faculty will have a chance to take Zumba dance lessons as well.
Sports like football and basketball were around last school year, but efforts to legitimize them became a reality because of the grant. Livingston said the basketball team didn’t win a game last year, but went undefeated this season and had students crammed into the gym to watch.
She said it’s important for the students to get involved in productive activities, or, “we might otherwise lose them to activities that aren’t so great.”
She added the parents have been heavily involved in supporting their kids this year.
The football team is now 2-2 after last week’s win. They play today at Roosevelt Middle School at 3:30 p.m. There are four teams in the league: Rosemont, Roosevelt, Wilson and Toll. Roosevelt and Wilson are both currently 3-1. The top two teams will play each other for the championship March 1.
Coach Jim Mustain, who teaches P.E. at the school and is a former football player and high school coach, said the kids are learning football in a more structured way like they would at CV High. There are always kinks to work out at this level to be sure, but he likes the direction his team is headed in.
“Our defense has played extremely well. We’ve been able to be strong defensively all year,” Mustain said.
Against Wilson, the only score was recorded by Kenny Chang, who sacked the quarterback in the end zone.
“Kenny Chang has been a beast for us,” Mustain said. On offense, Rosemont has quarterback Loman Dunning, who is a baseball pitcher when he’s not taking snaps.
“He’s a real athletic kid,” Mustain said. “He’s got a rocket launcher of an arm.”
Dunning was intercepted several times by Wilson, but that’s all part of the learning process.
And for the entire Rosemont student body, really. Livingston hopes they are learning that the fun at school doesn’t have to end when the last bell rings.
“I just see it as an obligation to make sure they are active and involved and there are opportunities to get excited about sports, or a club, to find their passion,” she said.