EHS AD reacts to ‘off the wall’ claims

Published 3:43 pm Monday, September 10, 2018

Social media was buzzing with controversy last week after a move by the Elizabethton High School athletic department.

Individuals took to Facebook claiming that the high school had permanently taken down from the hallway the large photo of the 2014 Elizabethton Lady Cyclones state basketball champions.

One person wrote, “Hitler (City Director of Schools Corey) Gardenhour removes 2014 Elizabethton Girls State Champ photo from the gym area. Says it’s time to move on.”

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Elizabethton High School Athletic Director Forrest Holt, however, said the above claim couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to Holt, the photo was temporarily removed to display photos of the volleyball team since the Lady Cyclones are currently midway through the volleyball season, and that the photo of the Lady Cyclones basketball team will go back up once basketball season tips off.

The swapping of the photos, which was a decision made by the athletic department and Gardenhour, is a part of Elizabethton High’s drive to make sure all athletic programs are being represented and promoted, said Holt.

“We are wanting all sports teams to be recognized like other sports teams, for example, like the volleyball team getting a team photo up,” said Holt. “We are also going to do that entire wing in athletic pictures. We are going to have wrestling up, swimming up, baseball, softball, track, and all that down the hallway. We want it to look nice, and we want everyone to be represented.

“That state champion 4×6 is going back up,” added Holt. “It is just a temporary kind of solution to get that volleyball picture up.”

Adjacent to where the basketball state championship photo was hanging is a copy of the same photo, sized at 3 foot by 2 foot and autographed by the Lady Cyclones. That photo is displayed with the state tournament trophy. In the gym, there is also a large banner commemorating the Lady Cyclones state championship team.

Gardenhour stated he learned about the decision last Thursday morning from the athletic department. He added the reasoning behind the decision was that the athletic department wants to encourage students to be involved with all athletic teams participating in each season. With volleyball season in full swing, the purpose of taking the photo down is to help promote the volleyball team during their season. The photo will again be placed on the wall during basketball season.