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Buckingham athletes want sports back now

A group of Buckingham County High School (BCHS) student-athletes let it be known Wednesday, Feb. 10, that they would like high school sports to return during the 2020-21 school year.

At least 12 student-athletes gathered with signs early Wednesday afternoon in front of the Buckingham County Career and Technical Education Center where the Buckingham County School Board meets.

“Today is a school board meeting, so we thought that this would be a good opportunity to come out and just show the school board members and the superintendent how much we want our seasons back as seniors and juniors and underclassmen as well,” BCHS junior Grace Dunkum said as she held a sign that read, “Let us play!”

Dunkum, other student-athletes and school board members interacted with each other briefly as the members entered the center for their meeting.

After one member asked Dunkum what sport she wants to play this year, Dunkum told her, “Spring softball.” The member listened and entered the building.

Dunkum said she and her fellow student-athletes wanted to send a message with their presence and also by talking to the school board members.

“I appreciated that,” Dunkum said of the member who asked her what she wanted to play. “I don’t want them to be rude and just walk past us and not give us anything, because they’re here for us, and they’re supposed to be making decisions based on what would be best for us.”

Due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, BCHS students have missed out on the 2019-20 spring season, the 2020-21 fall season and the 2020-21 winter season.

The sports Dunkum plays are volleyball and softball. Student-athlete representatives were also on hand for football, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, soccer, girls tennis, cross country and golf.

When highlighting the benefit that comes to students by having athletic opportunities, Dunkum pointed to scholarships.

“If anybody wanted to get into college, junior year is the year to show out to colleges,” she said.

Dunkum helped organize Wednesday’s peaceful protest through social media, reaching out to classmates largely on Snapchat.

She said the goal of the event was to have as many student-athletes as possible participate while also keeping things small enough so as not to violate Gov. Ralph Northam’s guidelines for public gatherings.