Due to the recent enrollment figures for grades 8-11, Bayou Academy athletics will be competing in Class AA next year, while North Sunflower Academy will continue to remain in Class A in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.
The bump up to AA hasn’t come as a surprise to Bayou as the school has seen increased numbers in enrollment over the last several years.
According to Bayou Academy headmaster Robert Foust, Bayou had approximately 111 students from grades 8-11 when it came time to do reclassification. That number is up seven students from two years ago, when Bayou had 104 students at the time of reclassification, putting the school one student short from AA at that time. In recent years, the school has also made significant upgrades to the softball field, gymnasium and baseball field as well as the entire school.
Foust said the school is ready for the move to AA.
“We are looking forward to it,” Foust said. “We’ve been anticipating this now for a couple of years. We’ve tried to make some up grades to our facilities so that they will be as nice as the ones we’ll be going to. I don’t think there will be any AA school that has as nice facilities than what we’ve got. We look forward to the competition.”
The Colts have had a lot of great athletic teams in Class A. The softball team won six fast pitch softball state championships (2006), while the baseball team won two state championships and finished state runners-up two other times (2009, 2010). The football team played in the Class A State Title game in 2007, while the boys and girls basketball teams, track teams, tennis teams and girls soccer team have also produced some good squads that have competed well in the postseason.
According to Foust, the potential to thrive for the school’s teams to thrive in AA is there.
“We feel like we can be competitive,” Foust said. “It’s a good time for us to be moving in that the majority of our athletic teams don’t have very many seniors, so we’ve got good people coming back in just about every sport. We look forward to relationships with some schools that we haven’t play very much in the past.”
Foust said a huge reason the enrollment has been higher in junior high and high school is the fact that more students, who started going to Bayou in elementary school, have remained at the school.
“Several years ago, we started making a concerted effort to recruit students down in the elementary school with the idea that the sooner you get them, the easier it is for them to stay,” Foust said. “Some of those numbers are beginning to show up in the junior high and the high school.
“As the years have gone, we’ve been able to keep the same enrollment or a little better in the elementary school. The bread and butter of everything is the elementary school, and you have to get them and keep them. We’ve been able to do that for the most part and it’s shown up in the junior high and high school.”
Foust also said many people, who went to Bayou Academy when they were in high school, are sending their kids to Bayou and have helped out with many needs around the school.
The full alignment as far as the districts for each sport will be announced later this month.