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Flint Community Schools voted to merge two high school athletic programs on Wednesday.

The merger between Flint Northwestern High School and Southwestern Classical Academy makes the program more competitive, the school district said in a press release.

“This decision was not made lightly – as we know that our students and the community have great ties and memories to the unparalleled athletic programs at both schools. Athletics remains an area of keen focus and investment, and we believe this merger will increase competition and create the best opportunity for our student athletes, our district and our community to succeed. We fully expect the strength of Flint’s rich athletics tradition to grow through this transition, and look forward to what the future holds for our program," Superintendent Bilal Tawwab said.

Both schools will remain open for education, but the athletics program will develop a new mascot - which the students will be able to nominate. The new program will also come with new colors and a new name.

“The next generation of all-star Flint athletes is warming up,” said Jamie Foster, Flint Community Schools Athletic Director. “Under our new program, we will continue to instill a sense of unity and the utmost confidence in our student athletes, creating leaders in our schools and our community from Kindergarten on up.”

The merger aims to combat the lack of student participate the schools have previously faced in certain sports, the district said.

"We're at that point now where out student population has dropped and we can't fuel all our teams. We can barely fill our varsity programs," Foster said.

The activities will be split up between the two schools.

Jeff Grayer, a nine year veteran of the NBA and district alumnus, said while he's sad to see tradition ending he stands behind the district's decision.

"Whatever they're trying to do at this particular time, they have my support. I just hate the mere fact that Northwestern sports, because that's my alma mater, that it's gone. I hate that, but I do understand the tough decisions that have to be made," Grayer said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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