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Students Missing Class Time To Cheer On Their Teams

Reported: Mar. 20, 2014 6:12 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 20, 2014 7:04 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) - George Washington High School students packed the stands at the Charleston Civic Center, cheering on their Patriots in the Boys State High School Basketball Tournament.

Even though they've already missed nearly a month of school this year, thanks to the water crisis and a brutal winter, they said this out-of-class time was worth it.

"We missed a lot of school because of the snow days and the water crisis," Chidi Okafor, G.W. sophomore, said. "And it's good to be able to come here and still support our school. We're missing school now."

"It's really important because being able to come out here and support our team," Matt Schwartz, G.W. sophomore, said. "It helps them be able to get wins and stuff."

George Washington's principal said this trip was treated like any other. With parental permission, students could attend the tournament. The executive director of the SSAC says tourney offers educational value for players and fans.

"We feel this is an experience that the kids can have, not only on the court but in the stands as well," Gary Ray, executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, said. "I'm a firm believer, you've gotta learn the social skills as well when it comes to dealing with life in general. And I think they're developing those while they're here with their peers as they support their team and sportsmanship and so forth, It all intertwines together."

While some schools like G.W. have missed dozens of days, others, like Huntington, have not. The Highlanders weren't affected by the water disaster, and Huntington has another advantage this week.

"This week is our spring break in Cabell County," Greg Webb, Huntington High School principal, said. "So it enabled us to have kids not out of school to come watch the tournament."



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