Five Cobb County schools were recognized as winners of the Georgia High School Association’s Cooperative Spirit Sportsmanship Award for the 2020-21 academic year.

North Cobb (3AAAAAAA), Kennesaw Mountain (6AAAAAA), Whitefield Academy (2A Private), Mount Bethel Christian (6A Private) and Walker (7A Private) each won for their respective region.

GHSA executive director Robin Hines made an announcement congratulating all the winners.

“Congratulations to all of the region winners of the GHSA Cooperative Spirit Sportsmanship Award for 2020-2021,” Hines said in a release. “It is an honor for these member schools to be selected by their regions for this award. The characteristics of good sportsmanship are critical to the development of our young people as they transition into productive adults. The GHSA applauds our schools on this accomplishment and appreciates Georgia’s EMCs for their support of this outstanding recognition program.”

Athletic directors at the winning schools said the award is a result of what their schools stand for.

“It’s absolutely an honor that we were able to win something like this, especially with the way that our mission at Whitefield Academy is to be salt and light to the community around us,” athletic director Danny Ryan. “This is something that we definitely take pride in and are humbled that we were chosen for this.”

The award was awarded to the schools that “demonstrated impeccable sportsmanship during the 2020-2021 school year.” The award also demonstrated how well the communities show sportsmanship as a whole.

“I think it’s a reflection of what we’re trying to do in the school and through the community,” North Cobb athletic director Matt Williams said. “We’re just trying to make people act right and do the right things, and I think people bought into it.”

Williams said the students at North Cobb have a class called SPEAR (Support, Preparation, Enrichment, Acceleration and Remediation) that started in August 2019. It is a class to help students and student-athletes learn character that Williams said has made a big difference on the athletes.

Cal Boyd, the athletic director and boys basketball coach at Mount Bethel, said it is important to remember that everyone is on the same team.

“One of the things we’ll say a lot of times to the coaches before the game is, ‘Iron sharpens iron. We both are going to get better from this experience. Win or lose, it’s going to be a positive experience for both teams,’” Boyd said. “Then, ultimately we talked a lot with the other team that we’re all on the same team, which is trying to raise up young people to be good role models, good citizens in this world, and, hopefully, also from a spiritual standpoint. So, at the end of the day, all of us in this educational world are really ultimately on the same team.”

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