Marcus Whitman track seeks to build community

It might seem incongruous to find parallels between social studies and track.

Just do not tell Scott Appleby that.

Appleby, who teaches that subject at Marcus Whitman Junior High, saw an opportunity for members of his track team to learn a lesson in civics when they sought new uniforms for their spring sport.

“It’s the partnership of community — business leaders — with nonprofit organizations like schools,” Appleby said. “If we can do that then we can gain equipment for sports outside of [Associated Student Body] money.”

Eleven members of the track team volunteered as greeters from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday during at the Port Orchard Fred Meyer. The store donated $500 to Marcus Whitman’s track program for their work.

“We had an opportunity with the grand reopening where we needed some extra greeters,” said Pauletta Peterson, Fred Meyer human resource administrator. “It’s been a great opportunity. I had a lot of fun working with the kids the last two weekends.”

Marcus Whitman’s track program was among multiple South Kitsap School District programs to serve as greeters at Fred Meyer. South Kitsap High School’s math team also volunteered. Appleby said his group enjoyed the opportunity.

“They handed out cupcakes,” he said. “They passed out shopping guides as customers came through the door. They were just being greeters. They loved it and look forward to doing it again.”

Appleby said money from the school’s ASB and athletic fees help the track team replace some equipment each year. More often, his wife and others sew holes in uniforms and recondition other equipment.

He said it comes down to simple math. If it costs $30 to purchase warm-up suits and the program has 100 athletes each year it would cost $3,000 to replace all of that gear. And that does not count other running gear and equipment.

“That’s a lot of cash flow,” Appleby said.

He said no determination has been made yet about where the donation will be allocated.

“We’re going through every track uniform bag,” Appleby said. “We’re just right now deciding where the money should be spent to benefit the kids the most.”

But Appleby does not want it to sound like Trailblazers’ track program is destitute.

“We have enough uniforms for all the kids,” he said. “We have enough gear for all the kids. This is more about community involvement than it is about track gear.”

Appleby, who said he learned about the opportunity at Fred Meyer through the mother of one of his runners, said they are looking into more volunteer possibilities to raise money.

“We’re not asking for handouts,” he said. “We’re willing to donate our talents, our service and then in response gain some donations for our time and effort. That’s really what this is about.”

That might even come at Fred Meyer.

“We’re looking to find some other fundraising opportunities,” Peterson said. “You could see they were excited to be here.”


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