Del-Val athletic program's success helps boost student morale

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The Del Val athletic program is soaring and its successes are rubbing off on a school community that's seen more than its share of struggles. (WPVI)

When power lifter Nixlot Dameus heads to Florida next month for nationals, he'll have the support of his school behind him.

Friday's dress down day at Delaware Valley Charter High School in Logan raised $550 to go toward the senior's trip.

"The athletic program here has really energized the whole Del-Val community," said William Cambria, athletic director.

With nationally-ranked Dameus, a division winning football team and a basketball team already city champs, the Del-Val athletic program is soaring and its successes are rubbing off on a school community that's seen more than its share of struggles.

"With the support of the staff and the students, we're able to get everything back together in the right place," said Dameus, senior.

In September 2014, a student died after being hit by a stray bullet, devastating the student body. And while grieving for their classmate, they learned their school was in danger of closing. Many students and teachers left, and morale plummeted.

"Keep pushing and hope for better days," said Mikal Cherry, senior football player.

Principal Michelle Brown was brought in this fall and immediately started making changes. Some were met with reluctance, but students started to see a newfound focus.

"My goal is to make a difference, and if I can make a difference on the top, I believe it trickles down into the children," said Brown.

"There was no structure or nothing like that so this year people come to school to learn," said Dwayne Coleman, senior basketball captain. "Students are more focused."

"We had a bunch of kids who were counted out for the most part, not really expected to be successful," said Jason Harriman, math teacher and basketball coach. "Now they're champions."

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