LIFT: Showdown of the Season

by Russell Sapaugh, Superintendent, Texarkana Arkansas School District,
and Paul Norton, Superintendent, Texarkana Independent School District

This editorial was originally published on August 31, 2012, the day of the yearly football game between Texas High and Arkansas High.

This evening, the “Showdown of the Season” puts our two favorite teams – the Arkansas High Razorbacks and the Texas High Tigers – in a head-to-head battle for gridiron victory.  Each of us will set on our respective side of the field to cheer on our team.  But when the battle is ended, we will walk away with pride in the sportsmanship of our student athletes and the district cooperation of staff that has allowed this evening to be an integral piece of our 102-year history of community spirit.

As leaders of Texarkana Independent School District and Texarkana Arkansas School District, we work together so that this annual tradition is a safe place for all.  The regional and national recognition of our cross-town rivalry is one that we are proud of and that puts the twin cities in the spotlight.  It shows the excellence that can be achieved when you work together for a common purpose.

However, our common purpose does not end after the game.  It continues year-round as TASD and TISD are entrusted to ensure the 11,500 students that are enrolled in our schools receive a quality education.  These young people are the future leaders of our community, and the open communication and district cooperation we display is a valuable lesson to teach.

We work collaboratively in reviewing academic programs that are being used by each district and offer cross information on scheduling techniques, tutorial programs and enhancement opportunities.  Our students and staff work cooperatively throughout the year for community projects such as Komen Texarkana Race for the Cure and as part of the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council Kennedy Center partnership.  When needed, we join forces to share staff for critical incidents that occur and come together in the early morning hours when bad weather arrives to determine the best decision for the safety of our students, staff and parents.

As community partners, we support the LIFT Program launched by Leadership Texarkana.  We believe that all aspects of our community must work together to maximize the benefit for all.  A community culture of open communication makes Texarkana second to none and a city that our youth of today and leaders of tomorrow will be proud of.

Tonight, we encourage you to enjoy the game, cheer on your favorite team and be proud of what is being – and what can be – accomplished by a collective group of Tigers and Razorbacks.

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