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Mr. Leonard with Columbia students at the Teal Ribbon RunFor the seventh year in a row, Columbia High School has won the state sportsmanship award from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA). A total of 243 schools were eligible for the banner award after submitting the Sportsmanship Promotion Survey to NYSPHSAA.

Columbia is one of two high schools to receive the award this year, along with Arlington High School from Section I, and the only one to win it each year since 2013. Recipients are selected based on extra programs and activities that schools have implemented to promote positive sportsmanship.

Teal ribbon volunteers“It’s an honor to have been awarded the NYSPHSAA Sportsmanship Award for seven years in a row,” said Mike Leonard, Columbia Athletic Director. “It speaks volumes about the great student-athletes, coaches and our school district. I am very proud of them and the many positive programs and activities they all participate in to promote sportsmanship.”

Some of Columbia’s activities from this school year include:

  • Donated more than $12,000 for ovarian cancer research from the 17th annual Teal Ribbon Run
  • Boys’ Basketball program raised money for Coaches vs. Cancer
  • Gave gifts and clothing during the holidays to 52 families 
  • Cheer Team brought gifts to children at St. Anne Institute in Albany and visited with them during the holidays
  • Collected jars of peanut butter and jelly at a basketball doubleheader to support the district’s Backpack Programs
  • Posted sportsmanship signs around the Columbia campus with expectations for players, coaches and fans
  • Brought in guest speakers to talk to coaches and parents about the importance of positive sportsmanship
  • After a rival school was the target of racially charged insults at a girl’s soccer match, the Columbia girls’ soccer team greeted them with flowers and hugs just two nights later. This act of sportsmanship was featured in “High School Today,” the monthly magazine published by the National Federation of High School Associations.