SOUTH HOLLAND | Seton Academy's success on the basketball court is much deeper than just what a school can accomplish in the athletic arena.
The boys team will be taking on Breese Central at 8:15 p.m. today in one Class 2A semifinal at Carver Arena in Peoria and could come home with the program's second state title. The Sting won it all in 2009.
The girls team made to the Class A DeKalb Supersectional before losing to Freeport Aquin. These successes have definitely let people know about the school.
What it can also do is let people know about the great academics of the Catholic school. People read about the teams' successes and then maybe they pick up the phone and ask to check the school out. In a private school, it is about putting people in desks.
I am sure that is what the Seton administration is hoping. Principal Marianne Lynch is proud of the Sting and coach Brandon Thomas, but she is also proud of something else.
"Half of the team are honor students," Lynch said. "We stress academics and we are a college preparatory school. Our student-athletes can do both."
She means having success in sports and in the classroom.
Assistant Principal Earl McKay said athletics is part of high school, but it isn't the only thing.
"We want our kids to be involved in sports and other activities," McKay said. "This is a great time for Seton because it does bring awareness about our school."
Tuition is $8,695 per year, but includes a laptop and books -- many of which are on the laptop. Lynch stressed there are no other fees, but families are asked to be a part of one big fundraiser per year.
Seton lists its enrollment as 246 on the Illinois High School Association's website. And for those who are keeping score, that is without the 1.65 multiplier.
"Our kids, almost all are involved in something other than just school," Lynch said. "Whether it be plays or music, we encourage the total education. Parents are investing in their child's future."
Seton has worked with Purdue Calumet for an engineering course. Many of Seton's students are well-versed in IT and actually can repair computers and take care of those viruses which plague them.
"If you can get an athletic scholarship to pay for your college education, that is great," Lynch said. "When you leave Seton, we want you to not only be ready for college, but to take those skills four years later and be ready for the real world."
Thomas himself said he is not surprised by the academic success of his team.
"We take it for granted because it is expected," Thomas said.
The phone might not be ringing off the hook, but parents are taking notice of the school just off the Bishop Ford Expressway. If basketball helps get people interested, than that is just a great way to show that good athletics and academics can go hand-in-hand.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at email@example.com.