Local Sports

Turkey Bowl Game Commences on Thanksgiving

The District’s anticipated Turkey Bowl high school championship football game will continue its Thanksgiving Day tradition, but without a few players.

Football players at H.D. Woodson will miss 18 of their teammates as result of a brawl that ensued Nov. 11 against Eastern High.

The 18 Woodson players involved in the brawl were suspended for the Thanksgiving game against Ballou, while Eastern’s seven players will miss one game next season since Eastern didn’t qualify for the playoffs.

“This is unfortunate,” D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson told WRC-TV (Channel 4). “This is not something I wanted to be standing here talking about. I was really excited and I’m still excited to watch the game. At the same time, it’s important to uphold safety and student behavior.”

In a Nov. 15 letter to the H.D. Woodson community from Diana Parente, executive director of D.C.’s Interscholastic Athletic Association, said game tapes identified those involved in the fracas.

“Extracurricular activities are an important part of the high school experience and are a learning tool for all students,” Parente said. “The DCIAA wants to ensure that the players who did not engage in the physical altercation are able to play … while also holding our student athletes to the highest standard when it comes to personal conduct.”

DCPS spokeswoman Janae Hinson said the Woodson head coach and principal weren’t available for comment.

Meanwhile, Wilson implemented a “social emotional learning” program within the DCPS five-year strategic plan to promote and incorporate mental and emotional stability to learn more effectively.

According to the SEL guidelines, students and adults adhere to five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills and social awareness. The personal and academic goals sought include:

• Identifying emotions;
• Impulse control;
• Respect for others;
• Teamwork; and
• Ethical responsibility.

Wilson mentioned in a September schoolwide newsletter about how it works at Luke C. Moore High School in Northeast.

Students are matched with personal responsibility coaches (PRC) are teachers and other staff who serve as mentors. They meet with students twice a week to discuss an array of topics such as academic and personal challenges, discuss what courses to take and check in on students from an emotional and
social perspective.

The SEL program at Lafayette Elementary in Northwest has a “peace classroom,” which students utilize to empathize with others and solve conflicts through peaceful means.

Wilson said in a July op-ed in the Hechinger Report, an independent online publication with a focus on education, social and emotional learning are to learning in today’s society. He said the district saw a nearly 50 percent decline in suspensions.

“A school focused on social, emotional and academic development looks and feels fundamentally different from one that isn’t,” Wilson said. “There are places where every student has opportunities to speak and be acknowledged.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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