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No Place They Would Rather Be

Seven years ago, the Michigan High School Athletic Association and its Student Advisory Council began the MHSAA’s trademarked “Battle of the Fans.” That was 2012.

Buchanan High School has been a contestant five times, a finalist four times and the winner twice . . . in 2013 and again this year.

Many of us complain of all that competes for attention of students and spectators. But at Buchanan, the culture is different. And it’s not an accident. Being involved in school and attending school events is the thing to do. By design.

Starting with a few individuals with vision and energy, student engagement has become the norm. Middle school students saw this in 2013. They were invited to be a part of it then; and now they are leading the effort at Buchanan High School.

At Buchanan, attending athletic events is the thing to do – and not just boys sports or winter sports. To attend events, to cheer loudly and to actually think and talk about what good sportsmanship looks like has become a year-round thing.

Buchanan High School and the other two finalists for 2018, Boyne City High School and Petoskey High School – and all the BOTF applicants, are helping to define and defend educational athletics.

View Buchanan’s application video for the 2018 Battle of the Fans

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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.