Audio Sen. Rogers: Gary Roosevelt’s athletic program should be preserved

Sen. Rogers: Gary Roosevelt’s athletic program should be preserved

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State Senator Earline S. Rogers (D-Gary) offered a resolution in the State Senate today urging EdisonLearning, Inc., to take into consideration the rich history of Gary Theodore Roosevelt High School’s athletics program when making the decision to continue the school’s sports programs. Senate Resolution 18 was adopted by the Senate by a voice vote.

Under a decision by the Indiana Department of Education, EdisonLearning, Inc., a private turnaround school operator, has been selected to operate Roosevelt High School for four years beginning next year. Gary Roosevelt is one of seven Indiana schools in its sixth year of academic probation, resulting in the implementation of a turnaround plan under state law.

“The goal of this turnaround process is to improve the achievement levels of Roosevelt students.  I see athletics as a way of enhancing those efforts,” Sen. Rogers said. “School athletic programs provide so many benefits to students and the community. For students they build character, provide scholarship opportunities, reduce the dropout rate and promote healthy lifestyles.

“School activities impact a community by bringing it together, involving parents and the entire community in a student’s education.”

LISTEN to Sen. Rogers comments from the Senate floor:

Roosevelt High School opened in 1930 and was Gary’s exclusive school for black students. Since 1950, Roosevelt has won 25 state titles in boys’ basketball, boys’ cross country, boys’ track and girls’ track, including two state basketball championships.

Sen. Rogers shared her personal story about a Roosevelt graduate who went on to receive two Olympic Gold Medals, Lee Calhoun, and inspired her brother to participate in school athletics. Sen. Rogers’ brother received a scholarship to attend college which then enabled her family to afford to send her to college.

“This is a story that can be told many times in families with lesser earnings,” Rogers added.

Roosevelt has several other notable alumni athletes including, George Taliaferro, the first African-American drafted in the NFL; Glenn Robinson, a professional basketball all-star; Chuck Adkins, an Olympic boxing gold medalist; and Dick Barnett, who played 14 seasons as a professional basketball player and won titles with the New York Knicks.

“Nothing precludes EdisonLearning from continuing Roosevelt’s historic athletics program, and I hope they will keep sports and other extracurricular activities at the school,” Sen. Rogers said.