BEREA, Ohio - It's the year of the Titans in the Berea School District.
This school year, the former Berea Braves and Midpark Meteors combined to be the Titans at the new Berea-Midpark High School.
"It's a little weird, but it's really exciting," student Marlon Robertson said. "I get a feeling that we're making history."
The two former rivals merged together in a district-wide consolidation brought on by declining enrollment. A decrease in jobs has forced families out and families who stay are having fewer children.
It's a phenomenon being seen throughout northeast Ohio.
"In 1970s, we had 17,000 students and we were the third largest school district in Cuyahoga County," Superintendent Mike Sheppard said. "We have close to 7,000 students and we continue to be the third largest school district in Cuyahoga County."
The high school students are all housed in the former Berea High School building. The former Midpark High School building is now Middleburg Heights Junior High. There's also an intermediate school for grades 5 and 6.
Berea-Midpark principal Vincenzo Ruggiero said the consolidation will result in greater academic opportunities for students.
"Greater opportunity for individualized advanced placement accelerated classes that students could take that in the past we didn't have enough students in any one building to offer those courses," he said.
The Titans' new colors are orange and blue, one color from each of the schools. On Friday, they'll have a parade at 1 p.m. at Finnie Stadium in Berea.
"I think it's a great idea," Robertson said of the merger. "It'll save a lot of money, but it also opens up a lot of opportunities to make new friends and of course you have sports as well."
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