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Family hoping district reconsiders restriction against Garden Plain student athlete pursuing dream

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 11:19 PM CDT
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GARDEN PLAIN, Kan. (KWCH) - Last month, Eyewitness News told the story of a Garden Plain High School student who’s been trying to play soccer in another district since there is not a soccer team at her school. In addition to having a passion for soccer, Sydney Puetz sees an opportunity for playing the sport to help her get into her dream school, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Puetz, a 4.0 student and multi-sport athlete, wants to go into the medical field, as well as join the military.

Playing soccer, she said, could help her chances of getting into West Point by making her application stand out farther.

“Actually being able to attend that school and play a sport that I really enjoy doing; that would be amazing,” she said.

For now, she’s restricted on fully pursuing her dream.

Without a soccer team in the Renwick school district, Puetz found a school that would allow her to play for their team. The catch is, that school, Wichita Independent, is outside her school district’s lines. Puetz received the go-ahead from Independent, but the Renwick school district denied her request to play soccer for the Wichita private school, offering little to no explanation.

A bill that’s passed in Kansas’ Senate would allow Kansas high school students to attend school outside of the district in which they live. For now, restrictions are blocking Puetz from competing on a soccer team.

Weeks later, Puetz and her family haven’t received a clear response on why the junior can’t play soccer for Wichita Independent. The family had their lawyer send a letter to the school board telling her story and asking board members to reconsider their decision, or at least explain why the request to play soccer out of the district wasn’t approved. The Puetz family said they hope the letter will change the district’s mind and they don’t want to take the situation further with legal action. They just want to make sure Puetz has the best chances of getting into West Point. The junior’s family also hopes the Renwick school district’s superintendent will see their side and come to a compromise.

Eyewitness News reached out to the Renwick school district, for comment on the issue but has not received a response.

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