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Fort Plain earns School of Distinction award

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. recently announced its 2019-20 Scholar-Athlete School of Distinction and School of Excellence Award winners.

Fort Plain was one of just five Section II schools to earn the School of Distinction award. Fourteen of the district’s teams earned scholar-athlete team awards.

Schools can apply for School of Distinction status by having 100 percent of its varsity teams qualify for and receive the Scholar-Athlete team award during their respective sports seasons.

To earn the School of Excellence Award, 75 percent of a school’s varsity teams must qualify and receive the Scholar-Athlete team award. For the 2019-20 school year, the School of Distinction and School of Excellence winners were based on fall 2019 and winter 2020 Scholar-Athlete submissions because the spring 2020 program was canceled.

The purpose of the School of Distinction and School of Excellence Awards are to unite varsity coaches in challenging their teams to achieve a statewide academic honor.

This year, 56 schools earned the School of Distinction Award and 140 schools earned the School of Excellence Award.

An additional 21 schools received the School of Distinction Award and 13 more received the School of Excellence Award compared to 2018-19 school year.

“We are excited once again to see the numbers of schools honored increase and it is a true testament to the kind of student-athletes we were have here in New York State,” said NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas in a news release. “We continue to be proud of this program which highlights and celebrates schools that value the importance of academics, as well as athletics. The fact that so many student-athletes thrived in the face of a pandemic this past winter is truly remarkable.”

NYSPHSAA’s Scholar-Athlete team award was initiated in 1991-92 school year.

The School of Distinction Award was established in 2002-03 while the School of Excellence Award began in 2016-17. All awards are sponsored by Pupil Benefits Plan.