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Dixie Hollins students push to change school name and mascot

Bob Putnam

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Students at Dixie M. Hollins High School have started a petition asking principal Robert Florio, Pinellas County superintendent Michael Grego and the Pinellas County School Board to change the name and the mascot of the school

The proposal calls for dropping Dixie from the name and calling the school Hollins High. It also wants the Rebel mascot to be replaced. 

Florio has acknowledged the request and will meet with students in the next few weeks according to an email the students received. 

The school, which opened in 1959, was initially called Northwest High but was soon changed to honor Dixie Martin Hollins, the first superintendent of Pinellas County Schools. He championed the rights of Black students and his estate still contributes to the school’s music program. 

In the 1970s, the school was embroiled in civil unrest because of integration and a school ban on the use of the confederate flag. For years, locals referred to the school as Dixie and the athletic teams as the Dixie Rebels. 

The petition, which has more than 250 signatures, is asking to get rid of the first name as “a way to still honor the man the school is named after while still cutting off the deep-rooted hatred attached to the symbols the school currently uses.”

In the past few years, the school has eliminated any symbolism tied to the confederacy, including the removal of the colonel character as a mascot. 

Logos have also been redesigned, including one now used on the schools website.

But the mascot name remains. 

The students want a different one, something “with less controversial tones (that) would help push the school in the right direction. All of this is an attempt to portray our school in the best light possible and to acknowledge the current activist movements.” 

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No more fans at Pasco County sporting events after COVID spike

Bob Putnam

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Stock football stadium

Pasco County has decided to limit all athletic activities to students and coaches due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases. 

That means no fans or media members in attendance. 

The new rule starts on Monday and will last until the positivity rate, which has climbed to nine percent, drops to below five percent for a rolling seven-day period. 

In the past two weeks, two county football teams — Wiregrass Ranch and Fivay — had to forfeit playoff games because of a player testing positive for coronavirus and multiple team members and coaches having to quarantine due to contact tracing. 

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Baseball

Signing day roundup

Bob Putnam

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Academy of the Holy Names

Rowing

Grace Cronen: West Virginia

Jessica Reynolds: North Carolina

Softball

INF Rachael Petrarca: Providence

P/INF Belle Sardja: Florida Southwestern

Berkeley Prep

Baseball

P Will Parkinson: Columbia

P Evan Parmer: Virginia Military Institute

Lacrosse

Justyce Barber: William and Mary

Swimming

Amy Wotovich: Harvard

Volleyball

MB Camryn Carlo: Cornell

Bishop McLaughlin

Girls basketball

G Isabella Prada: Rollins

Softball

3B/C Emily Suchan: Enterprise State

Volleyball

OH Audrey Koenig: Florida State

DS/L Adrianna Lopez: Rollins

Calvary Christian

Baseball

RHP Jack Cebert: USF

RHP/OF Tyler Dietz: USF

C/1B/OF Zach Ferlita: Covenant

OF/LHP Charles Stevens: Butler

1B/OF Jackson Unice: Eckerd

Softball

SS/C Leah Jarnac: Duke

C/SS Sam Leski: Florida Gulf Coast

Track and field

Meredith Adams: Texas

Canterbury

Softball

1B/3B Sarah Young: Rollins

Clearwater Central Catholic

Soccer

F/MF Kendall Liermann: Towson

Tennis

Ryan Boland: Loyola Maryland

Emma Fernald: William & Mary

Dunedin

Baseball

OF/1B Marcus Brodil: South Florida

East Lake

Track and field

Anna Cincotta: Florida Atlantic

Jesuit

Baseball

P Dominic Castellano: Central Florida

OF B.J. Graham: Tulane

INF Nick Rodriguez: Charleston Southern

INF/C Cole Russo: Central Florida

P Alden Segui: North Carolina

P Jackson Shembekar: Tampa

P Ryan Skelly: Charleston Southern

P Joey Volini: South Florida

Largo

Girls soccer

Asti Luff: Citadel

Newsome

Softball

C Lydia Castro: South Florida

Olivia Dresser: McDaniel College

P/OF Kaitlyn Felton: Central Florida

1B Jadeyn Ruszkowski: Clemson

Osceola

Softball

UTIL Jayla Brooks: Delaware

Plant

Girls basketball

G Kendal Cheesman: Vanderbilt

G Nyla Jean: Georgia State

Volleyball

OH Erin Morrissey: Maryland

River Ridge

Softball

SS Brooke Blankenship: Florida State

C/UTIL Giulia Desiderio: South Carolina

Sunlake

Softball

OF Kendra Falby: Florida

Tampa Bay Tech

Girls basketball

G Knisha Godfrey: Mississippi State

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No test score needed for high school athletes in Class of 2021 to be eligible at D-I or II

Bob Putnam

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The NCAA Eligibility Center announced Monday that high school rising seniors will not be required to take a standardized test to be eligible to play at play at a Division I or II school.

Part of the reason is the difficulty in taking the SAT or ACT during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

”Given the continuing impact of COVID-19, the NCAA membership made this decision with the health and well-being of incoming students top of mind,” NCAA Eligibility Center Vice President Felicia Martin said in a news release. “We understand the uncertainty in the educational environment and believe these changes will help ensure students have a fair opportunity to meet the initial-eligibility standard.”

Here is what the NCAA is requiring at the each of the two levels for high-school athletes in the Class of 2021.

Division I academic eligibility.

Grade point average: 2.3 in 16 NCAA-approved core courses, with 10 core courses (seven in English, math and science) completed by the start of their seventh semester in high school (prior to senior year).

Division II academic eligibility

Grade point average: a 2.2 grade-point average in 16 NCAA-approved core courses.

* International students-athletes enrolling in a Division I or II school during the 2021-22 academic year will be academically eligible if they complete 16 core-course units with at least a 2.3 (DI) or 2.2 (DII) grade-point average in those courses.

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