The end of one chapter gives way to the start of another, and such is the case as teams around the state begin preparations for the 2021-22 school year.
For some, that means a fresh start as they look to get back on the winning track, while for others, it represents an opportunity to build on what they accomplished in the past year.
Throughout the summer, Star Local Media will reflect on the year that was for the Mesquite, Rowlett and Sachse areas, while also looking ahead to the district’s storylines and subplots for the 2021-22 school year.
Today, we are throwing a curve ball so to speak, as we discuss some of the most frequently-asked questions.
1. How does Frisco ISD have11 high schools?
It is amazing to think that just a little more than two decades ago, Frisco was a one-horse town.
Now, they are one of the biggest school districts in the state, especially when it comes to the number of high schools.
When Emerson High School opens its doors this fall, it will be the 11th high school in FISD, ranking it with the likes of Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston.
But while nobody can dispute the city’s growth during the past two decades, FISD has chosen a very specific path in which it chooses to follow.
While school districts such as Allen, Plano and Duncanville have chosen to go the route of having large senior high schools with enrollments around or exceeding 5,000 students, FISD has gone in a different direction.
By spreading the enrollment numbers, all 11 FISD high schools are in Class 5A, which the average hovering around 2,000 students.
Due to the proximity, they have been rewarded by the University Interscholastic League with their own district in every sport other than football, which is split between two divisions.
That guarantees that the school district will have four playoff teams in every sport.
But do not believe that dilutes the product.
FISD not only gets four playoff teams, they also make a statement when they are there, as it has won numerous state championships in multiple sports in the last two decades.
2. How do student-athletes that live in Garland attend school at Rowlett and Sachse?
Garland ISD is one of the few school districts in the state that has a choice-of-school program. That allows students within GISD to attend any school of their choosing.
Now, GISD only provides transportation to those students that live within the attendance boundaries.
However, there are a multitude of magnet programs at each of the campuses that opens the door for a student to attend from across town and receive transportation.
That can also fall to the parents, as no matter where a student lives, if they can find transportation, they are allowed to attend any school in the district.
3. Why has Mesquite ISD split its five schools in different classifications?
This is an issue that is often brought up, as many athletes enjoy competing against those they grew up with.
MISD is unique, in that it has three 6A programs in Mesquite, North Mesquite and Horn, while Poteet and West Mesquite are in 5A.
Some have broached the thought that it gives the five schools more opportunity to thrive in their respective sports without it coming at the expense of their inner-city rivals and all five programs have enjoyed their successes over the years.
But the bottom line is location.
Where the three 6A schools are in more populous areas, Poteet and West Mesquite do not have the same make-up, and therefore, have lesser enrollments.
4, What is the best team you have ever covered?
The one would take multiple nights to figure out. I have had the fortunate opportunity to cover a number of state champions over the years in every sport.
But even having the chance to see the final goal, often times, writers only get a chance to see a team play a handful of times during the season as we try to see as many different teams as possible.
I get asked this question several times a year and I always go back to the 1999 Garland High football team.
While my career was in its infancy, little did I know that it would be one of the best journalistic adventures I would embark on.
I was fortunate enough to have a full staff in which we were able to see nearly every game on a weekly basis.
Garland happened to be the best program in the district, so I tended to gravitate toward the Owls’ games.
Little did I know, a program that had been forgotten when it came to talks about the state’s elite was going to make history.
Garland won back to-back state championships in 1963 and 1964, but coincidentally, South Garland opened at that same time, thus spreading the wealth of talent in the city.
Many locals doubted that any school would compete for a title in football again.
But then along came 1999, and head coach Joe Martin and his talented staff that included familiar names such as Jeff Jordan, Tom Westerburg and David Beaty, embarked on a special run.
After dropping a close game in its opener against Highland Park, Garland reeled off 15 consecutive victories, capped by a 37-25 win over Katy in the state title game at the Astrodome in Houston.
But why does that team stick out more than other state champions I have had the privilege of covering?
It was a unique time where I had the opportunity to see every one of the 16 games they played that season.
That gave me the opportunity to get to truly know the coaches, the players and the parents over the course of the nearly four-month journey.
As exciting and dramatic as the run to the title was, it was the opportunity to build relationships with that group that is something that I will never forget.
Oh, it is also my alma mater.