At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28th, over 500 East Greenwich residents sat in the cafetorium of Cole Middle School for the school committee meeting. The topic on the table: the budget. The school committee is slated to cut one to two million dollars over the next couple of weeks. However, many people did not realize the severity of the situation until it was announced that there may be cuts made to the athletic department. The proposed budget cuts consider eliminating intramurals on the elementary and middle school level, and for now the swim, hockey, and tennis teams at the high school.
Many of the attendees were there to support high school sports, and 25 people had prepared speeches to be delivered during a public comments section. Captains and members of high school sports teams, parents, teachers, and town residents shared their opinions and ideas with the school committee. Many student athletes urged the committee to reconsider doing away with sports. They spoke about their experiences on their teams and how important the lessons that they have learned are. They touched upon how these lessons have improved their performance in the classroom. Some seniors remarked how it has prepared them for their future, and how the programs offered at East Greenwich have set them up to perform at the college level and receive scholarships. Speakers addressed how young athletes look forward to high school sports as the highlight of their athletic careers.
Many of these students posed similar questions, asking, “What if?” What if they had never been able to experience high school sports? Everyone could agree that if they had not been a part of these teams, their lives would be completely different. They would have different friends, perform differently in school, an overall be different people. Any student-athlete can agree that their teams have changed them.
However, the most important issue to consider is how the problem will be solved. Many speakers implored the committee not to cut specific teams completely, but to spread it amongst all sports teams. They recommended that all sports teams should raise a specific amount of money each year. While it is illegal to force students to pay to participate on a high school team, they may fundraise in order to come up with the money. The Avenger community encourages people to continue staying involved with the school community to ensure that we do not lose our award-winning athletic program.
By: Emma MacDonald