Moreno Valley parents advocate for athletics at high school


In one of the most well-attended meetings in recent history, parents and potential students of Moreno Valley High School made the case for athletics during the May 3 governing council meeting at Moreno Valley High School.

Perhaps anticipating attendees’ comments, during her faculty announcements, digital arts teacher Beth Tafoya said, “The faculty … supports our student athletes. Sports in particular is being looked on as a way to draw students to our school, but some view sports as detracting from our school. This is a national debate.”

“We also want to say about the role of our PE department, it is a huge community building tool. PE is important for lifelong learning. We … appreciate the uniqueness of our program and we don’t want to change that,” Tafoya said.

Several parents made an impassioned plea that the school find a way to better accommodate athletics and student athletes. Strider McCash, whose son is a student at the school and daughter is considering the school, noted, “We’re not going to have strong minds without strong bodies.”

Rhonda Lee-Hicks, and others, asked that transportation be provided for sports year-round. “This school has a reputation,” Lee-Hicks said. “Sports are not supported.”

Michlyn Hobbs, who coaches volleyball at Eagle Nest Middle School, argued athletics is good for participants because students have to maintain good grades to compete, adding, “With sports we have a no drinking, no drugs policy.”

Sean Garcia also requested year-round transportation, specifically for basketball, while middle school student Sevanah Bingham expressed her belief students shouldn’t have to choose between “getting an education here or playing sports in Cimarron.”

Soney Forbes, another middle school student, cited positives that can come from athletic participation, including better time management skills, teamwork and leadership, and ended, noting, “I hope the governing council will come up with a solution so I do not have to miss class.”

Possible solutions discussed included holding physical education classes at the end of the school day and allowing sports to count as a PE credit.

Mark Contois told parents and the governing council members that he was investigating bringing soccer back to the school.

Parent Jeff Brealt told the audience his son left the school so he could play sports. “I’ve got another one coming up and if sports are not here he’s going elsewhere.”

In comments made to the governing council prior to the public participation portion of the meeting, Superintendent Adan Estrada said the school district “is going to be taking over transportation [from Durham Bus Services] district-wide … That’s going to open up some opportunities for you.”

Asked for clarification from The Chronicle, Estrada said in an email, “In years past, the cost of transportation has been a budgetary consideration that determined in how many functions athletic teams were able to participate.”

The “opportunities” Estrada referred to included lower transportation costs for field trips.

“MVHS has always been welcomed to participate in district extracurricular programs, but there is no transportation funding for that unless MVHS identifies a funding source.”

Since the district already pays for a shuttle that drives students to the valley every evening after practice, Estrada said, “If MVHS could come up with transportation one way from Angel Fire to Cimarron, they would be able to meet the needs of the students wanting to participate in fall athletics.”

Responding to comments that Cimarron did not participate in soccer when MVHS offered it, Estrada wrote, “Charter Schools are able to participate in district extracurriculars but district students are not allowed to participate in charter school activities.”

In Cimarron, the Ram Pride Booster Club supports high school athletes by providing meals at away games and supporting athletes in other ways as needed. The club operates under the auspices of the New Mexico Activity Association.