Student population increases, changes to sports, guidance follow

Alexis Perno, Print Editor

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After the final bell, students exit the main hall August 20. The student body increased in size from last year, resulting in changes to guidance counselors and sports classifications.

As of Friday, August 16th, Plant has 2,541 students enrolled, compared to 2,469 students last year. 

“We’ve been talking to our staff about it, you know, where do we go from here?” principal Johnny Bush said. “So right now, our big thing is we can’t settle… We have to have what’s called a growth mindset. We can’t have a fixed mindset that hey, I’m going to do the same thing I’ve always done and my kid’s going to always do what they do.’ We have to have that growth mindset and that’s what we’re focusing on.” 

Due to this increase, a sixth guidance counselor was hired and sports classifications shifted. New guidance counselor Allison Castellano, who came from Madison Middle School, said that the larger student body is intimidating. 

“It’s so big, and really even the faculty is so big, so there’s so many more people that I’m not sure that you ever meet everyone,” Castellano said. “But there’s six of us on the guidance staff and they’re all very helpful. I’m very lucky.” 

Senior guidance counselor Terry Hoke said that the addition of another guidance counselor allows the division of students per counselor to be shared better. 

“Well, I think everything’s good,” senior guidance counselor Terry Hoke said. “Everybody’s taking it okay and the students are too, and that’s a good thing. The district gives us what we need, so we’re not being cut off or losing something. 

For sports, the increase has led to classification changes, shifting which teams will play against Plant. Last year in basketball, Plant was in the 8division. Basketball is now in the largest possible class, 7A 

“It’s really great,” basketball coach Carrie Mahon said. “I do think that when you stay in the same district for three or four years you develop some rivals, but I also like a fresh start, you know new teams in a district and you know, just kind of taking a different direction.” 

Along with basketball, football saw a classification change due to the population increase. Last year, football was in the 7A classification. This year, football is in the 8A classification.  

“In football it’s rather interesting because when you get to the top levels of the classifications, it’s equally as difficult to win and to win it all,” head football coach Robert Weiner said. “The 7A road that we’ve had to make to the state championship game the last couple years has been incredibly brutal. To be honest, probably across the board the 8A road, even though it’s a bigger classification, is probably not quite as rigorous as that, but still, when you’re talking about the biggest classification it’s going to be tough either way.” 

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