PSHS Iron Horses prepare for start of inaugural athletic season
Brion Packett’s academic resume is diverse. Packett is assistant principal for athletics at Philip Simmons High School, but it might be a previous job title that will come in handy as the school grows and evolves. He was a history teacher at one time in his career, and who better than a historian to chronicle a new school’s growth for posterity?
Packett’s been there and done that to help get the new school off the ground. He’s the AD, but he is all encompassing. He talks about community pride, a togetherness of different areas in Berkeley County coming together to make PSHS the ultimate experience for student-athletes.
Packett was on campus at the new school on Monday. Soon, the state of the art building and athletic facilities will be open for business. Having all your coaches under one roof rather than two or three will be a big relief, although Packett’s not complaining.
“We’ve been split between three schools: Philip Simmons, the Daniel Island School and Cainhoy,” Packett said. “But the cooperation has been outstanding. The principals have done a great job of working with us.”
Packett has been in the middle of every decision that’s been made and will shape the new high school, which has the nickname of “Iron Horses.” He’s helped fill coaching positions that have been nationwide in scope. He’s helped order the equipment and uniforms. And, he’s made sure all of the athletic facilities are ready when the school opens next month.
Philip Simmons High School will offer every sport sanctioned by the High School League, except for lacrosse. The Iron Horses will have varsity teams in every sport during the 2017-18 academic year with the exception of the contact sports: football, wrestling and boys’ and girls’ soccer. Packett pointed out the contact sports will field junior varsity teams in its debut because the school has only freshmen and sophomores, who are still developing physically and would have a tough time going up against seniors.
Packett would love to see his teams post winning records in the first year of the school. But he’s focused on building a solid foundation the first few years. That foundation will be firmly in place by the start of the 2019-20 academic year when the school has a full complement of students in each grade.
This year’s enrollment is expected to be 300-350 students and that number will at least double with all the growth Berkeley County is experiencing.
“We want our students to excel in athletics and in academics,” Packett said. “We want our community to be proud and support well-rounded student-athletes. We’re working on building a foundation, but we are certain that one day the rafters will be filled with Philip Simmons High School (championship) banners.”
The school will compete at the Class AA level this season and will move up to Class AAA in three years.