Opelika is the best kept secret in Alabama


By D. Mark Mitchell

sports columnist

Why is the Opelika City School System one of the best kept secrets in Alabama?
Is it me or do you take for granted all the wonderful amenities Opelika has to offer?
Think about it. We have a state-of-the-art Sportsplex and Aqua Center, West Ridge Ball Park’s sprawling 13 fields including the state’s best Miracle Field, a revitalized Historic Downtown Opelika, Tiger Town, USA Factory Stores, a new Industrial Park with many new industries, continued improvements and well-maintained streets and roads that allow traffic to flow in an efficient fashion. The Parks and Recreation Department provides many activities and functions regardless of age. Mayor Fuller and the City Council support Opelika in all of its endeavors.
Opelika City School System currently holds the highest graduation rate of any school in Lee County, including the Auburn School System. Opelika High’s Dr Farrell Seymore was voted secondary principal of the year for 2015, a first for OHS principals!
The renovations to OHS, resulting in a beautiful, like-new facility were a must for a facility that was designed to last through 1990. The changes allow OHS students access to the latest technology to learn.
You may wonder why I thought about these things.
Last weekend a family of five visited Opelika High. The father has a new job that requires a move to a new area. Like most families, they wanted to visit the three public school systems in our area. I helped show the family around the school and answer questions about Opelika.
The family included three children from fifth through 10th grade. Like most, all three had different interests. One likes arts and band, one likes sports and one likes the technology available in the school system.
All three seemed to be smart and well rounded.
As we walked around the sprawling quiet campus, I kept hearing words like, “Wow, I can’t believe they have that,” “look at this computer lab,”   “the band room has everything we need,”  “the Performing Arts Center is top of the line,” and  “What? A 3-D printer?”
The words just kept flowing from the family as they saw different areas of the school. The athletic department was intriguing to one of the children. Every sport has a locker room and three different weight rooms.     “Look! Green Houses. In a high school?” I was kinda stunned myself. Heck, I know we have all of these things but never thought that other schools may not.
The family was blown away with the facilities, the state-of-the-art technology and pleased that Opelika seems to be ONE: meaning the city, schools and recreation department work together to make Opelika the best place to live.
The family chose to move to Opelika. The new job required the father to start soon. They all felt comfortable, excited and pleased with Opelika and our school system.
The day reminded me, things don’t just happen. We must keep moving forward and share the “Opelika” story with as many people as possible.
Like I asked in the beginning, “Why is Opelika one of the best kept secrets around?” We do not need this to be a secret, we need to talk it up and promote the positives.
You can keep up with Opelika and local sports by listening to my radio Show “On the Mark” weekdays from 7-9 am on WTLM 1520AM!
You can listen on the web by going to iheart radio.com/ WTLM
The All-Sports Booster Club is enrolling members in the Corporate Sponsor Plan. If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, email me at www.foxonthemark@yahoo.com.
The Opelika Ozone All-Stars are the lone Opelika team remaining in the All-Star Tournaments.  The 11-12 year old All-Stars finished second in the District. They will travel to East Montgomery to compete in Sub-State. The top three advance to the state tournament.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.


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