The MIAA has expanded for the first time since Gerstell Academy and Cristo Rey Jesuit joined the Association prior to the 2011-12 school year with the addition of Jemicy School for the 2014-15 academic year. The MIAA now has 29 full-time member schools.
Jemicy School, located in Owings Mills, is a small private school which is dedicated to the education of students suffering from dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. Currently, with approximately 150 students in its upper school, Jemicy will initially compete in soccer and cross country in the fall, basketball and wrestling in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring. The school mascot is the Vikings.
“We have been building our athletic program and see it as a tool in our desire to teach the whole child,” said Jemicy athletic director Mark Palmerino, who has also served as the school’s Dean of Students for the last 10 years. “We have a very strong art program at Jemicy and see the enhancement of our athletic program as the natural next step.”
One of Jemicy’s goals is to position itself as a viable option for students who could benefit from the school’s education benefits, but who still wish to participate in athletics on the high school level.
According to Palmerino, dyslexia does not present any specific challenges to students in athletic competition.
“There really are not too many challenges for athletes. Dyslexia is more of a challenge with reading and writing activities, but not as much with physical abilities,” said Palmerino. “Some of the understandings of the game or spacing on the field or court could be a problem, but this can be managed.”
Jemicy recently opened a new natural grass playing field, with a scoreboard, for its soccer and lacrosse programs. The field has also been plotted for the future addition of a track. The soccer, basketball and lacrosse programs have existed for the last 10 years, while the wrestling and cross country squads have existed for more than five years.
“We do not have any plans to go beyond these sports currently, but in the future we hope to grow our program and open the door to attracting more athletes,” said Palmerino. “We are really excited about joining the MIAA. We feel it is a great fit with our plans and provides us with more structure as we grow. We’re ready to go.”
The roster of 29 full-time member schools is an all-time high for the MIAA. In 2008, the MIAA had 28 full-time members and Georgetown Prep was an affiliate member participating in only football. However, with the closing of Cardinal Gibbons and Towson Catholic, late in the last decade, the full-time roster dropped to 26 and Georgetown Prep also eventually left the football conference. However, the addition of Gerstell and Cristo Rey, and now Jemicy, has established the new level.