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Boosters Club Meeting Crucial Need
Escalon schools are known for academics and athletics, but when it comes to budgets, the axe typically falls on sports programs first.

Such is the case this year, with the district cutting back on sports funding. That has made the work of the Escalon Sports Boosters that much more important.

For years, the Boosters have provided extra funding for all sports at Escalon High, from cross country to golf, football to basketball. Every sport gets a share, said Club President Deborah Hawkins.

"Money has been totally cut off for sports," she said. "This organization has become even more important."

Previously, the Boosters would target funds for specific projects and needs for the sports. Now, though, Hawkins said it will be up to each individual sports team and coach to determine where the money goes.

"We are giving a lump sum, they can use it for anything," she said.

School budgets are having to scale back and extra-curricular activities like sports is one of those areas that is not a requirement.

"Kids have to have U.S. History and language arts. They don't have to have sports," pointed out Athletic Director Mark Loureiro. "The Boosters are carrying our athletic program, the board had to cut budgets across the board so our Boosters are stepping up even more and it's important that our parents realize that and support them."

Hawkins said the main fundraiser of the year for the group is the Dinner, Dance and Auction, usually in March, and they also run the snack bar at home football games on Friday night. Merchandise sales of T-shirts, sweatshirts, stadium seats, bling wear and other items also support the club.

"Last year we replaced the basketball scoreboards and contributed to replace and upgrade the scoreboards for the soccer and baseball fields," Hawkins added. "Now our focus is on keeping the sports up and running."

Other ways to help include purchasing a student body card for your student. The $50 fee helps pay for lights, referee costs and transportation.

"We are one of the few schools that don't charge for (sports) transportation," Hawkins said.

The Boosters meet every third Wednesday of the month, 6:30 p.m. at D'Boni's Pizza and are always looking for new members. This month's meeting is tonight, Sept. 19.

"We need it more than ever now," said vice president Michelle Fitzgerald of community support. "And I don't think we've (Boosters) ever been needed as much as we are now."

Each individual sport will do some fundraising on their own, but much of the money will come from the Boosters. Hawkins agreed to serve as president again this year only if she didn't have to worry about coordinating the Friday night snack bar, a task that was taken on by Debbie Leal. Volunteers work the home side, while a school club signs up to work the visitor side and receives a stipend. This past Friday night, the Travel Club handled that task.

To get involved or learn more about the Sports Boosters, contact Hawkins at 406-6355.