Last April two generous donations were made to Shorewood High School. An anonymous donor gave 1.2 million dollars for athletics and another $500,000 matching grant for STEM and expeditionary learning.
The athletics grant has been designated for finishing the rest of the stadium that D2D, Shorewood’s original funding campaign did not cover.
This includes two team rooms, a concessions stand complete with refrigeration and storage, an officials room and a spirit shop.
“I wish these updates didn’t cost as much as they do, but the majority of the donation will go to [updating the track],” said LeVar Ridgeway, athletic director.
With the extra money after the updates underneath the bleachers are complete, Ridgeway hopes to create a separate area for the high jump competitions, which would allow Shorewood to host home track meets.
The construction is scheduled to be completed around the end of October, with the hopes of being prepared for track meets in the late spring.
“This really puts us back into the mix [with other high schools] with being able to host more events, being able to service fans more with having concessions, restrooms and other amenities,” Ridgeway said.
The athletics donation is only half of the puzzle. The district is still working towards raising the funds for the matching grant.
Currently are just over halfway, a total of $293,961 has already been contributed. The district must raise $500,000 to receive the $500,000 grant by the end of this calendar year.
“It’s challenging and exciting at the same time, and I think [the deadline] really motivated donors who want to contribute to the fund,” said Ted Knight, chief advancement officer.
The fundraising effort has been a culmination of community and national appeals. Over the summer, Knight looked toward potential giving sources outside the community.
“I had discussions with foundations, national foundations, companies and also alumni in our region and outside our region, bringing in $120,000,” Knight said.
Now that the school year has begun, Knight has instigated inter-community fundraising efforts.
“I’m just so grateful for the community support we have received so far,” Knight said.
Readers who are interested in donating should look on the district website to make online donations, as well as read directions for writing out checks. Knight’s contact information is also available for those who want to contact him regarding their donation.
Julia Cabaniss, science teacher and STEM advocate, encourages donors to support STEM.
“I think a STEM oriented curriculum is important because it exposes students to the kind of works that are out there in high-tech fields with math, science and engineering that have lots and lots of jobs … I think that a STEM [curriculum] is more hands-on and engaging as well,” Cabaniss said.
“Every morning when I wake up, it’s ‘How are we going to get more funding to meet this match?’ It’s what I eat, breathe, sleep and live these days,” Knight said.
by Monica Dix