While a number of banners hang on the walls of the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium, a new addition is particularly special for all athletes, coaches, fans and the administration at Seymour High School.
The school recently was selected as one of 19 schools in the state to achieve Five-Star Leadership status from the Indiana High School Athletic Association and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for the 2015-16 school year.
The five requirements that must be met to change the culture of sport are in the areas of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
Seymour High School was presented a championship-style banner to put in the gymnasium.
Former athletics director Brandon Harpe and assistant AD Dave Urbanski spearheaded the effort to elevate the school’s status years ago with the help of the school’s administration.
“Several years ago, Mr. Urbanski and I decided that we were going to be more than a passive member of the IHSAA,” Harpe said. “We were going to get fully involved in their programs.”
Part of that entailed creating a student athletics board, which sends a handful of students to a leadership academy in Plainfield.
The coaches, parents and announcers at Seymour High School also upped their game.
“We started having all our coaches take the sportsmanship class online and showing sportsman videos during parent meetings,” Harpe said. “Our announcers at games have also done a great job about relaying our message during games.”
In 2014, Seymour was honored in a similar fashion when it received a Mid-State Hospitality Award.
Seymour was selected for the Hospitality, Sportsmanship and Scholarship School of the Year Award. It was one of 30 southern Indiana schools nominated for the honor.
Stewardship has taken even more of a role in recent years.
One of the facets Seymour is most proud of is Inclusion Revolution of the Champions Together program, which hosts a Special Olympics track and field meet in the spring.
“We’ve only had the Inclusion Revolution track meet for two years,” Urbanksi said. “The one thing that was different (this past year) is that we were able to incorporate what we’ve done at the high school with the special needs kids down to the elementary level. The elementary has a Championship Together program. We started it at the high school, and it manifested itself at the younger level.
“Stewardship of taking care of things are important to you and your community. A lot of people who have graduated from here come back and raise families here, and there’s a reason why.”
There are around 350 current student-athletes, and Harpe said he wants to see the number grow to 400 and then 500 in the coming years.
Urbanski said that it’s a total team effort from top to bottom to earn the Five-Star award.
“I think doing initiatives in the high school and being backed up by the central office, our school board and administration has made the job really easy,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of help from support staff. It’s not just the athletic department itself. I think that we were able to make a lot of initiatives and changes from up above, and it makes life easy when you have that support.”