WILLIAMS, Ariz. - After about a three-year absence, the golf program will return this spring to Williams High School.
The Williams Unified School District (WUSD) Governing Board unanimously voted to approve the addition of a golf coaching position at its Feb. 26 meeting.
WUSD Athletic Director Phillip Echeverria said 17 students have signed up for the golf program, 11 of whom have never participated in a sport.
"I think it's just a big plus because we're offering something to kids that haven't taken part in anything else and they're interested in golf," Echeverria said.
Several community members have donated golf clubs and golf balls in the past, so the school has about eight to 10 sets of clubs and at least 100 balls for the team to use.
The city of Williams allows the students to use Elephant Rocks Golf Course as a practice and competition site for free. The team can use the school's football field for practice as well.
Williams will possibly host a few golf matches at Elephant Rocks. Echeverria added that the team would probably compete in three to five away matches and one two-day tournament.
The golf team is coed, but the girls will have to compete from the boys' yardage.
"That's just due to the fact that the big schools play golf in the fall and the smaller schools play golf in the springtime, and there's only boys golf in the springtime," Echeverria explained.
The golf program dissolved a few years ago when student interest declined and the golf coach became a volunteer position.
Each year, the school has had signups for golf to determine if enough students were interested to form a team. The 17 students who signed up this year warranted bringing back the program.
"I do a P.E. unit on golf just to build some interest in it," Echeverria said. "And I think some of the kids have taken to that and have decided they want to try to compete in it."
With the 31 students playing baseball and 19 students playing softball this spring, the additional students playing golf will bring the total student population participating in spring sports from 22 percent up to 30 percent.
After gaining the board's approval, the district posted the golf coach position. The board may approve the coach at tonight's meeting.
"Then the kids can actually get out there with a coach and start practicing," Echeverria said. "It's definitely a tough sport, there's a ton of work that they need to get done but as a district if we're able to add it it's going to add to our students."
In other news, the school board unanimously approved implementing the middle school point system for the 2014-2015 school year.
"Currently there is nothing for middle school kids to motivate them," said Williams Elementary-Middle School Principal Bryan Lords. "There's no credit or point system. A kid says, 'I can squeak by with Ds and Fs and as long as I can get the gist of it I can move on.'"
Lords said the point system will prepare middle schoolers for the rigor of high school.
"There's only so much we can do in the middle school, but we're going to do everything in our power to help them understand it's a huge jump from eighth to ninth grade."
The middle school point system focuses on five areas: academics, attendance, tardies, behavior and transitions between the middle school and high school. Students would need six points out of 10 to continue to the next grade level.
For the academic portion, students can earn a total of five points, one for every class they pass with a 60 percent or higher.
Any student who fails two core subjects for the year will not be promoted without successfully completing summer school, and any student who fails three or more core subjects will be retained.
Students can also earn a total of two points for having few unexcused absences, a total of one point for having few tardies, and a total of two points for having few referrals and detentions. The points will be awarded in 0.5-point increments depending on the range of infractions.