by Trevor Henry
The current co-op between Erie and Prophetstown was established in 1998, with the intent of a powerful and mutually beneficial setup for both schools in athletics, according to Erie High School’s principal Mr. McConnell. “I believe the current co-op provides opportunity that allow students to participate in activities that we wouldn’t be able to facilitate if it was only Erie,” he stated in a recent interview. He continued with “I personally feel that a full co-op will solidify the future of current activities that we host, due to the fact that the current numbers of athletes are showing a dramatic downward trend by student athletes. Including scholastic bowl, not only athletics, academic bowl, co-op classes together, such as those we offer but they don't vice versa. I.e. Ag program building trades wielding class.” When asked if it included organizations, such as band and choir, he states that all activities will be on the table; however, there still needs to be a lot of discussion about logistics. The Three Rivers Conference voted to allow Erie and Prophetstown to go into a full co-op on October 5th, and the Erie school board approved a full co-op agreement on October 23rd. If the Prophetstown school board votes to co-op, there will be a new agreement that will put all activities under one umbrella.
In an Interview conducted with Eric Robinson from Prophetstown, he stated his feelings toward the current co-op: “I feel it is great, but at the same time it’s bad because it’s only in certain sports. What I mean is, we make friendships in the sports that are combined and then we play against each other. Those friendships turn into rivalries when we play against each other in sports not under the co-op.” Eric is for the schools to co-op their activities, he stated that he feels the schools co-oping would be a good idea in another ten years! He stated the co-op helped him make friendships he otherwise would not have had, and feels it would be a great idea so students can be playing with each other for more than two seasons. Eric feels it would bring Erie and Prophetstown students closer and it would make the team stronger.
In a recent survey that the Chronicle conducted, about 97% of EHS students said that they like the co-op currently how it is or would like more sports in it. A majority of Cardinal athletes said that they would also participate in their sport even under a co-op. 45 out of 65 Panther athletes stated they enjoyed being in a sport with Prophetstown athletes, while 50 out of 64 Panther athletes stated they believe sports are better in the co-op when referring to athletics, sportsmanship, and team strength. That same number also said that they had made friendships they would not have made without the co-op. When questioning only Panther and Cardinal athletes a vast majority of them had said that their time in the co-op sports were positive.
In the final section of the survey Basketball and Basketball dance had 41% of people wanting to co-op it, following was Volleyball, then Scholastic Bowl. 21% of people are wanting to combine the music programs and 23% wanting to combine the dual credit classes. Only 29 people out of the 101 surveyed found people didn’t want to combine anything at all. Some of the comments gotten from the survey are “I believe we should co-op because without it, we (won’t) have sports teams in a couple of years.” However, another student said “I simply just don’t want to have to bus back and forth and I like my Erie teammates. I haven’t played any Panther sports yet, so my stubbornness might change. Our numbers a really low for volleyball and basketball, which makes playing for a freshman like me a lot more fun because it makes me feel more needed on the court.” Another comment taking this stance was “It’s fine how it is, if we co-op anything else we will have a bigger bench that the coaches won’t play at all.” From many people across the school they have said that the basketball and volleyball teams on both sides don’t have very many people on them, and that without the co-op, the freshmen that get to play now won’t be able to if there is no one wanting to do those sports we haven’t gone into a co-op yet.