Academics or athletics: Some students face dilemma

Education

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Some high school student-athletes in the Portland area are facing a tough decision: take a test that could earn them college credit or compete in a state sporting competition. 

They can’t do both because the International Baccalaureate program testing days fall on the same days as the state championships for tennis, golf and track, which start next week. 

One student-athlete who is affected by the situation is Lincoln High School senior Avi Shugar. 

He and his family moved to Portland from Eugene 2 years ago so Avi could continue his tennis training at the Universit of Portland. 

Lincoln High School was a good fit because the school also offers the IB program, something Avi had already started in Eugene. 

But now, Avi faces a dilemma. 

The teen is taking 7 IB classes on top of playing for his high school’s tennis team. 

“I feel like I’ve been working so hard for this and so have my teammates in the same situation and I really feel like we deserve to be able to pursue both aspirations, whether it’s in the classroom or in on the court,” Avi said. 

Despite Avi, his family and his coaches trying to find a solution for him and his teammates, the Oregon Student Activities Association isn’t being lenient in allowing them to make academics a priority while also competing in the tennis finals. 

Avi said if it comes down to it, he’ll choose to take the IB tests because he feels they will “be the most beneficial in the future.” 

Officials at the OSAA said hundreds of student-athletes are competing from across the state and that making concessions for one student could create problems for another. 

“This isn’t the first time that this issue has come up and it does create difficult choices for students and families,” said OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber. 

Weber said officials at OSAA will continue to discuss the situation. 

“There’s 16 days in May where there’s IB tests,” he said. “If there’s no flexibility in changing IB tests, then should we even have state championships in May? What would that look like? … those are conversations that I’m sure will be ongoing as we look to continue to try and do the best we can for all the students trying to participate in state championships.” 

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