The Proviso East High School boys’ basketball team has had much success on the court during the last few years.
The team finished second in the state in 2012, and made another trip to the state tournament in 2013, when it finished fourth in the State of Illinois. This year, the team won another West Suburban Conference title as well as another regional championship.
That excellence on the basketball court also has translated to the classroom, as the team has taken care of business academically, with only one player declared academically ineligible during those three years.
Student-athletes on the team credit an after-school study hall that Coach Donnie Boyce established when he took the job in 2011. Mr. Boyce said that when he was a student-athlete at Proviso East in the early 1990s, a stretch that included two state championship teams in 1991 and 1992, the last period of the school day was a practice and study hall. The current after-school study hall was created as a way to keep the players accountable academically.
In the study hall, players not only have to do their homework, but they also must explain how they did it to the coach.
"I wanted to show them how committed I was not only on the court, but off of it," Mr. Boyce said. "Anything worth having is not going to be easy. But if you stay focused on the task at hand, good things are going to be the end result."
The study hall is a requirement for the team. If they do not attend the study hall, they do not get to practice. If they miss three or more study halls, they do not get to play in the game that week. In addition, Mr. Boyce said that players are encouraged to sit in the front of their classes, and participate in class discussions.
For players, the study hall has been a good way to stay on top of their classwork. Antonio Williams, a junior, said that he appreciated the availability of teammates and teachers who can answer any questions that he has on an assignment.
"If we don’t get it, we have another player to help or we can go to think tank and have a teacher explain it," he said. "It gets our work out of the way so we don’t forget it."
Jevon Carter, a senior, also appreciated the extra help.
"You have no choice but to focus on your work and keep your grades," he said. "The help is always there whenever you need it."
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that the team has made the school proud in more ways than one.
"We are proud of the way that they have played the game and conducted themselves on the basketball court," he said. "We also are proud of how hard they work in all aspects of their lives, especially the classroom. Working hard in the classroom will remain with them long after they have finished their playing careers."
Congratulations, Proviso East Pirates. You make us proud!