Built from student initiatives 2017-2018 season marks first athletic program at Propel Northside

By: Neil Strebig

Starting this year Northside Propel will be implementing a new athletics program for their students. Boys and girls grades 6 through 8 will be able to compete in volleyball, basketball and track and field.

“We’re highlighting our athletic program as an education-based program,” said Propel Northside athletic director, Alan Alcalde. “We’re not only focusing on the athlete but also the academic.”

According to Alcalde, the programs have been a collaborative conversation among students, parents and the faculty; skills like teamwork, discipline, and accountability that students learn through athletics are skill sets that carry over past the court and field of play for Alcalde that is “really driving the athletic program here.”

Photo courtesy of Propel Northside
Photo courtesy of Propel Northside

The synergy between athletics and Propel’s academic mission might be best represented by the program’s new logo. According to Propel communications and public relations manager Janey Cink, the Propel Northside Bulldog came as a result of a joint effort between students, teachers and graphic designers who created both the mascot and the logo. To her, that combined effort is a great example of how athletics are generating new school traditions and a stronger sense of school pride at Propel Northside.

“We always want our students and our families to play a big part in what we develop within propel. This is an opportunity when we give them some ownership in the process,” Alcalde said.

Alcalde credits Propel high schools as a catalyst for the new athletic programs citing the student involvement in Braddock Hills’ ultimate frisbee club and the success of Andrew Street’s basketball teams influenced a demand from students for more athletics across the board. Currently, Propel has over 500 registrations for their middle and high school programs. Cink described the process as a “natural progression.”

Propel Northside will compete against the five other Propel middle schools: Braddock Hills, Propel East, Hazelwood, Homestead, Mckeesport, and Pitcairn. Each of the three athletic programs will be available at the high school level where students will also be able to participate in bowling and cheerleading.

For more information on the Propel Northside Bulldogs and Propel charter schools visit www.propelschools.org.

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