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Op-Ed Column by TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress

TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress

Column by Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.

As you know, the coronavirus epidemic has caused havoc in virtually every corner of our community and in lots of different ways.

One group that has been negatively affected in an unexpected way consists of the seniors who are graduating from high school this year. For many, their proms have been cancelled; their diploma will not be awarded to them in front of classmates and family; and their high school careers will end without the usual parties, open houses, handshakes, hugs and tears.    

This is especially true of the area’s student-athletes who are seniors and normally participate in a spring sport. Not only are most of these seniors missing out on prom and graduation activities, spring sports have already been cancelled in many states, and according to the NCAA, 97 percent of them will never play an organized sport again. It’s part of the coming-of-age process that, in reality, is poignant and impactful not only for the students themselves, but also for their families.

With this in mind, please consider sharing the attached op-ed piece with your readers and followers. It will be a meaningful way to celebrate the students who are the future leaders of our community, recognize the fact that, unlike most of us, they won’t have the opportunity to bask in the glory of being a graduating high school senior, and send them on their way with a pat on the back.

Thank you for sharing this important message. It’s a gesture that will be very meaningful to your readers and followers. As always, I am available to provide additional insight or answer questions. I would welcome your call or email.


Bernard Childress, Executive Director

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