Rules and Success

Thus after six years of operation, there prevailed among VIA leaders a feeling that VIA had survived its infancy, had become firmly established, and had been accepted by the majority of principals and teachers working in Negro high schools. Indeed, even at the midway point of the beginning six years, VIA leaders saw growth and success for the organization: first from C. D. Paige, Executive Secretary, in an introductory statement to the 1957 VIA Handbook:

The past three years have seen the Virginia Interscholastic Association, though still in its infancy, grow and develop with great rapidity. This growth and development can rightfully be attributed to the wonderful cooperation of principals, sponsors, officials of various colleges, and the students of our member schools.
The continued success of our organization is contingent largely upon the degree to which we realize the necessity for changes and the willingness to affect these changes, for the good of the order. Let us move on with determination to improve all services that will lend to greater development of the boys and girls in our schools.

Then from J. General Johnson, Chairman, and Legislative Council in the FOREWORD to the 1957 Handbook:
The Virginia Interscholastic Association had made notable progress since its initiation in April 1954. While all the public and private schools of our Commonwealth have not become affiliated, it is encouraging and satisfying to note the number of increases year by year. This naturally adds up to more boys and girls being given the opportunity to participate in wholesome activities under the direction of our schools–which is the primary purpose of this organization.

The final responsibility for the success of this organization rests with Secondary Principals. This responsibility is multitudinous; study, initiation of program, attendance to Legislative Council sessions, suggestions for improvements and administrative services for the office of the Executive Secretary for eligibility deadlines, etc.
With this kind of cooperation from principals and staff members, our VIA will attain the status of recognition and acceptance so generally needed for the effective development of boys and girls in our schools.

While without a doubt the above statements expressed sentiments and portrayed an accurate assessment of the status of the VIA during the early years, these lines also revealed a plea, a hope for the future. Indeed as the first six years of the VIA ended, the following words of President Robert P. Daniel, written on October 27, 1954 for an introductory statement to a draft of the first VIA Handbook might have applied equally as well in 1960:

The Virginia Interscholastic Association is the out-growth of the vision and planning of principals and teachers throughout the State who saw the need for a better coordinated program of activities among the high schools of the State. Many hands are now joined in the promotion of a program of activities which are of inestimable value in developing within the young people of our Commonwealth the qualities which will help to make them well-rounded citizens for more effective participation in a complex and democratic society.

The success of this new venture will depend upon the wholehearted support which every principal, activities leader, and program sponsor can give. We are depending on you, therefore, to make the Virginia Interscholastic Association a force for good in the lives of all the boys and girls of this Commonwealth.
We shall see in the next chapter the degree to which the hopes of VIA leaders materialized as we discuss the middle years of the VIA.

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