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Challenges mount for North athletics amid Newton Teachers Association strike

Athletic+director+Mike+Jackson+stands+with+teachers+while+picketing%2C+Friday+Jan.+19.
Gabe Kolodner
Athletic director Mike Jackson stands with teachers while picketing, Friday Jan. 19.

As strike is commenced by members of the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) Friday, Jan. 19 after over a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations, its impact on North’s athletics program is still uncertain. 

All games and practices will be canceled for the duration of the strike, according to Vice Principal Amy Winston. “I honestly don’t know what happened because we haven’t ever done this before,” said Winston.  

Athletic director Mike Jackson added, “We’re just at a standstill right now. We’re trying to move games as much as we can. We played some games early yesterday and we’re just going to try to keep moving games and postponing until this is over.” 

Jackson, Winston, and other coaches express a shared sentiment: with the strike being an uncharted territory, the extent of the disruption remains uncertain, and the athletic community awaits further developments. 

Games being forfeited or canceled is a definite possibility if the strike persists, according to Jackson. “We crammed four days of games into two days. I’m just trying to make sure we don’t forfeit any games and it doesn’t impact our student-athletes any more than it already has,” he added.

Student-athletes have already begun brainstorming creative solutions to minimize the influence of the strike on their practices and consequently, performance, despite a lack of communication from coaches. 

“I have no idea how my team has been able to adapt to the cancellations,” said Beals House Dean Scott Heslin, the girls’ hockey coach. “I haven’t been able to talk to them, but yesterday as rumors were spreading they were trying to find somewhere to get together as a team and practice.”

Special education teacher Paul Connolly, head coach of boys’ basketball, expressed similar faith in his team’s efforts to continue practicing without outside support. “The kids are on their own and I can’t be involved in anything like that,” said Connolly. “My leaders will get the group, they’re going to go to the YMCA or the boys and girls club, and they’re going to play basketball together.”

Moving forward, it is likely that teams will have back-to-back game days when the strike ends, as many games will be postponed, according to Jackson. 

“The athletes will get through this,” said campus aide John Staulo, the head coach of wrestling. They are resilient and resourceful and they find things to do to support each other.”

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About the Contributors
Aanya Vishwanath, Sports managing editor
Aanya Vishwanath is currently a freshman at Newton North High School. Outside school, she loves to play tennis and ski. Her favorite use of spare time is listening to music; her taste ranges from Fiona Apple to Kendrick Lamar. In school, she is active in the DECA club, so she's excited to see how her business knowledge will help her contribute to the Newtonite. She also serves on the Student Faculty Administration as a Freshman representative and enjoys participating in sports and musicals. Aanya's passion for theatre and singing began in the third grade when she begged her mom for singing lessons, and since then she has never looked back. She takes Chinese in school and is approaching fluency in French, and hopes to be completely fluent in both languages by the time she reaches high school graduation. Her favorite subjects in school are Physics and Chinese. She is thrilled about her first year working on Volume 102!
Gabe Kolodner, Photo manager
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