We can imagine the reaction of any number of readers who read Tuesday's front page.
One story told of an all-out brawl that broke out Friday after a basketball game between Ware Shoals and Tamassee-Salem. The other highlighted the Renaissance Program in Ninety Six. The juxtaposition of the two stories surely did not go unnoticed.
Athletics and academics are essential ingredients in any high school. Both can build students' character and intelligence, strengthen their ability to think and react quickly, even excel in their lives and careers.
When a brawl such as the one that occurred last week takes place, however, it can easily turn people away from athletics and make them question if the focus and emphasis in our schools is misdirected. In short, such incidents give school athletics — yes, we'll say it — a black eye.
But as long as the offenders are properly disciplined, even such matters can provide life lessons. At least, that is what we should all hope and want. We should also hope in this day and age the incident was not sparked by the slurring of any racial slurs.
Still, many readers no doubt pointed to the program in Ninety Six and applauded. Here is a program that puts a strong emphasis on celebrating academic achievements, something many adults say is lacking in our schools. Public schools do celebrate academic achievements through the publication of honor rolls and such events as special awards dinners and programs, but let's be honest: You hear more cheers when an athlete scores the winning touchdown or sinks the winning shot than you hear when a student gets all As or graduates with a 4.0.
We suspect Renaissance Program's adviser, Beth Miller, is keenly aware of the value of both. She is a health science and physical education teacher who sees the value in being as fired up about academics as athletics. In fact, as the program takes hold and grows Miller envisions students lettering in academics as well as sports. There is even an academic pep rally, the first ever at Ninety Six High School, slated for Feb. 20.
Maybe other schools should consider mimicking Ninety Six's program. Who knows? Doing so might very well result in more appropriate behavior during and after spirited athletic events.