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Chelsea Colatriano

The Burlington County Scholastic League is growing. On Tuesday, the league voted in two new members.

"The Burlington County Scholastic League is pleased to announce that both Doane Academy and STEM Civics Charter have been approved as full members of the BCSL effective for the start of the 2019-2020 school," BCSL president Joe McColgan said in a statement. "We are excited to welcome both institutions into the BCSL and look forward to working together to begin this new phase of the BCSL."

With the additions, the league will grow to 22 members. The BCSL has added seven new members since the Lenape District, which had three schools at the time, left for the Olympic Conference in the late 1990's.

The two schools of the Burlington County Institute of Technology, Medford Tech and Westampton Tech were the first to join. New Egypt followed at its founding. McCorristin Catholic, which is now Trenton Catholic Academy, and then Pennsauken bolstered the league's membership.

In each instance, the additions were made to enhance both the competitive balance of the league and the expand the athletic opportunities for every school in the BCSL.

STEM Civics is one of the state's newest charter schools. Founded in Ewing in 2014 with 100 freshmen, the high school program has enrolled 100 new students each year since. This year, a middle school was opened to further the school's academic aims.

The Purple Lightning compete in more than a dozen varsity sports with more in the planning stages. They also sponsor club-level teams in several other sports, including equestrian and fencng.

"Being accepted into the BCSL is an honor and huge step for our program," STEM athletic director Ryan Robbins said. "We are a public school that opened in 2014 and as we have grown we have been looking for a reputable league to join. I know we can add to the positive reputation of the BCSL through sportsmanship and competition.

"Our student-athletes work just as hard as every other school and deserve the same opportunities. I think the BCSL can provide that for our students and I know we can provide the same back to the league."

Doane Academy is one of the state's oldest schools, founded in 1837.

The Spartans compete in 11 varsity sports and also feature crew, which befits its location along the banks of the Delaware River in Burlington City.

In 2012, Doane joined the NJSIAA, New Jersey's high school sports governing body, after years of fielding independent athletic programs. Since that time they've focused their attention on being an attractive growth option for the BCSL.

"This has been a long-time dream for the school and the athletic program," Doane athletic director Dan Williamson said. "This is a significant step for our school and our students. We've worked hard to improve our athletic programs and our facilities to be able to be a competitive member of the BCSL. Our whole community is very excited."

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