Should Sports be at LVA?


Khai Huynh

Artifacts in the main display cases showcase the historic athletic past when LVA had sports. Items include a photo of school cheerleaders, cheer uniforms, a jersey with the original mascot, and a letterman jacket from someone who was one of LVA’s athletes in the days before LVA was a performing arts school.

Elena Murrieta, Reporter

Deion Cox is a junior orchestra major, who enjoys playing sports, as well as his major. (Elena Murrieta)

Deion Cox, a junior orchestra major, feels as though LVA should offer sports along with the major programs. “I love playing basketball,” said Cox, who not only goes to LV but enjoys playing sports as well. LVA doesn’t offer sports activities, but, “If they ever did have a sports team or offered sports, I would definitely be interested in that,” he said. “I’ve played it since I was a little kid and played in elementary school.” 

Sports are not offered at LVA because the school is focused on academics, as well as the arts majors that are offered. No one disagrees that physical activity is good for a person’s physical and mental health. 

“Sports definitely gave me an outlet when I was a kid. It gave me a source where I can let out my emotions that were trapped.” Having sports in his life provided a way to “express himself” and is still part of his life. “Sports is just another source that we have to express ourselves and to do something you enjoy doing,” said Cox. 

 Continuing on from that point, if LVA did have sports, differently “If we had sports, I feel like the school could come together and be like one big unit,” said Cox. From his perspective, having sports at LVA might be a way to bring the students closer, since the whole student body would be cheering for our school, just as all other students do for their school when an activity is going on.

 From a different viewpoint, while LVA doesn’t offer sports, since the curriculum is geared towards the arts, some students, when auditioning, may feel torn when applying since LVA is a magnet school and not a typical Clark County high school. “Don’t stop doing what you love. Sacrifice comes with that though. Keep doing that, and keep doing what you love!” In the end, there is nothing that says a person can’t do what they love as well as an extracurricular activity; everything is about balance and LVA is a great place to do that,” said Cox. 

LVA’s Principal Scott Walker at his desk thinking about how he can make LVA better. (Elena Murrieta)

For 12 going on 13 years, Principal Scott Walker has overseen the administration of LVA. “My background, before I came to LVA, focused on the arts,” he said. Trained in music, he worked as a band and choir teacher. “So, I’ve always loved the arts. LVA is frequently stereotyped to be a certain type of kid and that’s okay I guess because we are different, but we also are capable of doing anything. That’s what I love about being here. I love that kids choose to be here,” he added. Since he has been part of the arts world for several years, he understands how LVA is such an amazing school. 

Since LVA doesn’t offer sports Walker was asked if the school would be different. “It would be difficult to do what we’re doing if sports were offered because everyone in their major is already so busy,” Walker said. He added that to have dedicated teams who would put as much commitment into their efforts as is necessary to excel is something that he wasn’t sure is even possible. “We do have students who play sports, and they go to their home schools to do this,” he added. He then commented that those students who do this, do a good job of balancing everything. Walker then followed up with the observation that to get to a skill level to even be competitive with all the other schools takes a lot of time, as well as money; and everyone knows that finding and having enough funding to support a full sports program can be stressful. “I don’t know how we can really do both,” he said. “I’m grateful that we have that the magnet here of doing this where we don’t have to quite spend so much money and time and energy. But yet the opportunity is still there.” From personal experience, Principal Walker said his youngest child attended LVA as a band major, however, she returned to her home school to play soccer.  

Speculating about whether funding for sports at LVA would take money away from the funding for all majors, Walker said, “Well, sure. You have a pie of money, and if you take a larger slice of pie, it definitely does. Part of the reason why we’re funded right now adequately is we have parents who are generous; many of them pay their parent funding agreement. They invest in our gala.” Recognizing that students also help in the fundraising, he added, “We have community members, and they do that because they believe in our mission of arts and academics together.” He continued with the observation that if LVA operated like all other schools, it would not necessarily be thought of as special. “We focus on what we do, and we do it at a really high level, ” he said, and so people support that fund. So, because of that it would be tough to have to fund it for other things and yet, still have a sports program at our level.” 

As he continued, Walker spoke about LVA’s participation in intramurals and how “the teachers are really good about that.” Then, he recalled how, a few years ago, LVA captured the state championship in archery. “Believe it or not! That’s really cool!” he said with obvious pride. Reflecting on that triumph he said, “there are still opportunities. And even there’s kids out here at lunch. Right now. There’ll be out there on the field, throwing balls and playing basketball and getting exercise.” 

Expanding on his opinion about sports in schools, Walker said, “Well, I think that’s important too”. Every student has an interest they love. “I was an assistant principal at different schools that had sports programs,” he said, “And as long as you had good coaches, just like we have good directors here, there’s benefit in it.”

Physical activity from sports can improve and build muscles, he also stated this was a result of their focus on becoming physically skilled in hopes of becoming a pro player. To this comment, he added that at LVA the staff members were able to keep focused on the balance between the future and a student’s career with an arts focus. “We still try to say in your future if you continue doing this, this is how it’s going to help out,” Walker said, and then provided a reminder for all LVA students, “Extracurricular (activities are) not part of why they’re at school.” Going further, he added this comment about the student’s interests in the arts, “We’re here, it’s part of who we are academically as well.”

Reflecting on his role as principal and his journey as an educator, Walker is a tradition-based person who wants what’s best for his students and to make the environment welcoming to all. Then he speculated that he might not have been able to experience this growth and increase his open-mindedness if he had not been at LVA. “I don’t have to change how I believe,” he said, “But I’ve learned to be more understanding and to listen and reflect on why this person believes this or wants to do this. And then I go, okay, that makes sense. And in some cases, I actually do change. I’m going, this is a good thing!” Then with a bit of self-evaluation, he said, “Social norms aren’t such norms anymore, much. You know, society has changed. I’m glad that I’ve been open to move and change with society. Some of the issues that we’re dealing with that I’ve seen students have to deal with that I didn’t have to deal with as a kid. It hurts me to see kids hurting.”

With compassion for students and challenges, he said that if he was starting over, he would have more understanding and compassion, like he has now. “So that’s probably been the biggest thing. I’ve always tried, even as a younger, newer principal, to be collaborative and seek people’s advice and opinion,” he said. Walker added that he thought he had earned more respect from the teachers since he has lasted many years at LVA. “You know, a lot of principals only lasted, you know, a year to a few years, and they come and go, and it’s hard for teachers to trust a principal who they’re going to outlive. And so, I feel like I’m in a really good place right now. I love my staff. I love my students and there’s not much I would change.

For those students who would choose to attend LVA, because they are passionate about the arts and academics and yet want to participate in sports as well, Principal Walker said, “We will work with them to come up with a schedule where they can do both, as long as they have everything balanced and in order. I think it’s as a youth before your adulthood (that you) experience everything and try different things, and to try to see where your natural talents are and try to grow those other talents. It’s too bad that we’ve made kids focus too much on just one thing. Even in college, I changed my major a few times, and that’s okay. So you know, we’ve had good athletes here that it’s hard on some of them that leave here because they had a tough time balancing everything. 

This student ticket stub is a remembrance from a 1928 home basketball game between LVA and Kingman. (Khai Huyhn)

Concluding his remarks, Walker said he would still encourage his students because if they’ve invested time, effort, and even money, on their instrument, they should continue. Speculating that a student might have started playing piano at three, or “They picked up their flute or trombone in fourth grade then, you can keep doing it if you love it.”





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