Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 11:39PM

Hall County School District celebrates National Girls and Women Sports Day

By Bo Wilson | Video by Seth Chapman

More than 500 middle and high school female student-athletes gathered across Hall County to celebrate the first National Girls and Women Sports Day. 

It’s part of a week-long celebration for the Hall County School District. 

Flowery Branch girls basketball coach Courtney Newton spearheaded the event and welcomed several prominent local, state and national female speakers across the county’s seven high school campuses. It was an event to celebrate, promote and fuel an increase in female athletic participation. 

"I want to make sure our girls and young ladies in the county know about the mentorship programs, get the information out there so our community knows how they can get their daughters involved in sports,” Newton said. 

Flowery Branch athletic director Jimmy Lawler said he’s proud of all the work Netwon did to make this event happen. 

“She had this vision as part of her growing admin classes,” he said. “What a list of names and experiences she’s brought together, so we’re very proud of the work she’s put in, and the county for allowing us to move this forward.” 

Former high school, collegiate and Olympic women’s basketball referee Nan Sisk spoke to the group at Johnson on Wednesday. She was excited to see the number of young girls that attended her presentation.

“It’s good that schools are taking the time to invest in girls and promote girls sports because when I was growing up, we weren’t allowed to even go into the weight room,” Sisk said. “We could only practice when nobody else was using the gym and other things like that. I feel that there has been a lot of progress made by the systems in getting the things that the girls need to be successful. I also think there has better participation, especially at the college level, by the girls. But I would like to see more participation at the high school level.”

At Flowery Branch, Darrice Griffin, current senior deputy director of athletics at the University of Georgia, said the power of sports made her who she is today.

“I’ll start by saying that I have so much gratitude to the staff here for being so intentional about celebrating National Girls and Women Sports Day,” Griffin said. “I want to underscore the fact that the power of sport and access to sports mean to girls and young women. I’m where I am today because of the power of sports. For this school to pause and be intentional about programming around this cause says a lot about their values, but it also says a lot about the experiences they are trying to provide here for girls.” 

Former University of North Georgia director of athletics Lindsay Reeves spoke to the crowd at North Hall and said it was an honor to give back to the community. 

"What an excellent opportunity all around Hall County to be involved in something that promotes women and females in sports," Reeves said. "This is just one day of a whole week of celebration.”

Jeff Hart and Seth Chapman contributed to this story. 

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