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North Posey student-athletes learn to take pride in their hometown

POSEYVILLE – One of Indiana’s generations-old traditions is how towns and smaller cities take pride in the local high school serving as its social centerpiece.

In Poseyville, a town of roughly 1,000 residents tucked away in the southwestern corner of the state, everything from athletic competition to plays to musical presentations taking place at North Posey High School keeps persons of all ages entertained.

In recent years, the level of community support North Posey is known for has been reciprocated by those being supported in the first place.

Giving, quite literally, is a two-way street.

Through the Heart of Poseyville (https://www.heartofposeyville.com/), an Indiana Main Street and Grow Poseyville (growposeyville.com) the very athletes catching touchdown passes, spiking volleyballs and scooping grounders are doing everything in their power to better the community in which they live.

Only now, statistics aren’t being kept. It is, very simply, the right thing to do.

“I think the goal is just the sustainability of our town. It’s a great community,” said North Posey athletic director and head football coach Waylon Schenk, who just completed his seventh year at the school. “It’s kind of a throwback to the good old days.

“You still see kids riding bikes and kids playing in the yard. And this community rallies around everything this high school does. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, this community supports it.”

“It’s a valuable life lesson to teach students how to give back. Community projects such as these are rooted in the principles of servant leadership and go to the very core of what the state of Indiana is about. And there might not be a more important lesson to learn in today’s society.”

Paul Neidig, IHSAA Commissioner and North Posey High School graduate, Class of 1981

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North Posey students cleaning up street

And so those within the walls of North Posey, as well as its feeder schools, do what they can to improve the community.

Junior Jed Galvin, a running back/strong safety for the football squad, is currently pitching or playing center field for Vikings’ baseball. He moved to the area just prior to the start of his eighth-grade school year, and in four years has witnessed first-hand the difference he and the other students can make.

“I think a big part of it is that Poseyville is such a small town,” said Galvin. “The little kids really look up to the older kids. The big part of giving back to the community is that they’re the ones who support us and sponsor our teams.

“I’m sure there’s more that we can do, but that’s our little way of giving back to them.”

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Poseyville students painting street curb

Every spring, the event entitled Pick Up Poseyville invites residents to meet in the morning at the town’s community center. This year 15 adults (community leaders, teachers and coaches) and 45 students (10% of the school’s population) spent the day picking up trash, painting whatever requires painting, raking, sweeping and more along the main street corridor.

Moreover, it’s done with pride. Just smiles.

“They look forward to it having learned to take pride in their community. Our kids don’t complain about it. They look at it as a great honor,” said Schenk. “We just really promote serving the community and being part of something bigger than yourself. We’re trying to grow more than athletes here. What I’ve seen is kids kind of coming out of their shell and connecting with community leaders.”

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Poseyville students pulling weeds

Other events throughout the calendar year are designed to unify, as well. All in the name of, well, growing Poseyville.

Athletically, North Posey has made its mark since the advent of class sports in Indiana, a seismic shift in how postseasons are conducted that began during the 1997-1998 school year. The Vikings won Class 2A state baseball championships in 2005 and 2006, are the defending titlists in 2A softball and were 2A state football runners-up this past fall inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Over the winter, North Posey’s boys basketball squad posted a 19-6 mark. The baseball team is riding high with a 21-5 record.

In other words, no shortage of outstanding programs for community members to support.

But it’s always been this way.

Three-sport North Posey standout Ashton Elpers, a member of the volleyball, basketball and softball programs, will be a freshman at Indiana University beginning later this summer. She wants to study biology and perhaps one day go to optometry school.

Having grown up in Poseyville, she takes immense pride in representing her school and town the right way.

“We have great town support. The whole community shows up for our events, and, as athletes, we want to protect our brand with our sportsmanship,” Elpers said. “You have to remind yourself that that jersey you’re wearing, that’s who you’re representing.

“It’s all about growing up in a small town. Everybody knows everybody, and this is our way of giving back. People definitely appreciate it, and they take the time to thank us.”

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Heart of Poseyville group photo