The special designation would help students gain recognition within their high schools and stand out when applying for college.
While living in Stuart, Gavin Smiley's academic and athletic accomplishments were recognized.
Rowers were held at the same standard as athletes in other programs, such as football. They were in the running for "Athlete of the Month," participated in signing days and included in homecoming festivities.
However, that wasn't the case when they moved to Volusia County, which does not have a lettering program for rowing.
In fact, Gavin, who has rowed competitively all four years of high school, will likely not have a seat at the table during signing day on Nov. 15 unless the School Board makes a move, said his mother, Jennifer Smiley.
"He's heartbroken," she said.
Jennifer and her family moved from Stuart in August.
Her son, Gavin, is a senior and her daughter, Ella, is a freshman at Spruce Creek High School. They both are members of the rowing club at the school, and they train and compete through the Halifax Rowing Association's junior rowing program.
Gavin and Ella have competed in sports since they were young, Gavin beginning at age 6. Though he began as a swimmer, he gravitated to rowing.
"Through rowing, he had instant friends, he made connections, and it suits his competitive spirit," Jennifer said.
As a mother, she thinks it's the best sport — a great full-body workout, without the risk of injury associated with some contact sports.
She said the only downside is that rowers are not awarded varsity letters, which signify that winners met certain standards as a qualified varsity team member. They also help students stand out when applying to colleges.
Sami Bay, junior rowing communications coordinator for the Halifax Rowing Association, said students want change.
"They took this on, and they have a plan," Bay said. "They will do community service and anything else to get the word out."
Their efforts included bringing the issue to the School Board during its regular meeting on Sept. 25. Bay said the program has picked up speed in recent years, and she would like rowing to gain acceptance as a high school sport in the area.
"It's more than recognition," she said. "It really validates their commitment and dedication to their sport, but it also signals to a recruiter that this student has committed to a varsity-level sport, which requires time management and leadership skills. It's a subtle message."
Bay said students, in addition to achieving extraordinary academic goals, train 10 hours each week and travel frequently to compete. However, some students feel as if they need to split their time between rowing and another sport or leave rowing altogether.
"We have kids taking time off from what they love to have a high school letter," she said.
Bay said the School Board will send a powerful message to young rowers by backing a lettering program.
Jennifer said so far they've gotten support from James Russell, superintendent of schools for Volusia County, and School Board member Carl Persis.
"We are eager to move to the next step with the school district and are awaiting to meet with county athletic director Larry Beal," she said.