Three Indiana high schools recently received grants from the California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant initiative. They are among 85 high schools in 38 states receiving a total of $101,500 for struggling athletics programs.
The Evansville Central High School boys’ soccer program feels the “constant pressure of financial need” and its fundraising can’t keep up. With more than half of the student body from high-poverty backgrounds, it’s difficult to achieve in the fundraising they do. Next year the Varsity squad will face ineligibility unless new uniforms are purchase that meet new NFHS requirements. They’ll use the Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant to buy some of those uniforms.
The track and field equipment at South Dearborn High School in Aurora is in severe disrepair, putting athletes at risk and undermining team confidence. Because of continuing budget cuts, less-than-quality equipment had been purchased. With the grant, the team will now be able to invest in higher quality, long lasting equipment.
Like South Dearborn, Wayne High School in Fort Wayne has learned that cheaper materials and shoddy craftsmanship don’t hold up. The boys’ team has new uniforms, but no warm-ups. The girls’ team uniforms and warm-ups are falling apart, and the sizes don’t match the physiques of the team. (Another high school in the district closed and its students are now attending Wayne and participating in sports.) The team has investigated ordering t-shirts and sweats for the runners, but many of them couldn’t afford the price. Wayne is a Title 1 school, with high poverty. The grant from California Casualty will assist them in the purchase of necessary attire, which will boost morale and confidence to compete.
Shrinking state education budgets, pressure on schools to focus efforts on academics, and diminishing funds for athletics inspired California Casualty Chairman and CEO Beau Brown to establish the grant program in honor of his father – Chairman Emeritus Tom Brown, a lifelong athlete and sportsman. The senior Brown experienced firsthand the complementary nature of athletics and academics.
For more information about the Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant program, visit www.CalCasAthleticsGrant.com.
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