WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

Whitehall-Coplay School District Superintendent John Corby announced Monday evening that the district's Fall 2014 sports season opened Monday with a record 496 students attending practice sessions, a participation number considered impressive by school district officials.

Speaking during the monthly board of school directors' meeting Corby said, "I'm proud of the school board for providing opportunities to the student athletes in our district." He commented, "It was a great first day of participation accompanied by a lot of positive attitudes from coaches as well as the students."

Corby said Monday was the statewide opening day for practices in all sports.

In Whitehall, that included football, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, cheerleading, golf, tennis, and cross-country, he noted.

Whitehall School District Athletic Director, Robert Hartman, said 44 district coaches oversaw continuous practices in all sports for both middle and high school students.

During the meeting, the school board approved the hiring of 49 primarily assistant coaches at various pay rates with 18 of the positions being filled by volunteers.

Corby mentioned he consistently receives positive feedback from associates of neighboring school districts on the high level of sportsmanship exhibited by Whitehall-Coplay student athletes.

He also expressed his pride in many of his school district's motivated students "who represent our school district in an exemplary fashion."

The superintendent stated, referring to the school board,  "We believe in the three A's---academics, athletics and the arts."