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SRCS girls’ lax team raises funds necessary to stay on the field

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FORT COVINGTON - The girls of Salmon River Central School will have an opportunity to play lacrosse this spring season after school officials confirmed funds have been raised to support the team.

Shari Adams of the Akwesasne Lacrosse Booster Club presented the school board with a $7,000 check last week to secure the survival of the school’s girls’ varsity lacrosse program. The booster club managed to raise the funds in a little under three weeks after recently discovering the program was not budgeted by the school for this spring.

School Superintendent Jane Collins said that the reason the girls’ lacrosse team hasn’t made its way into the school budget yet is because the school can’t justify introducing a new program at the same time they’re downsizing the sports program. SRCS recently cut most of its junior varsity teams.

“At the time when they came forward to ask us to do it, it was also a hard time in economy,” she said. “And things haven’t turned around yet.”

Ms. Adams said that when a varsity girls’ lacrosse team was first proposed school board members said that such a program could be a possibility if parents were able to fund it for the next three years. In 2011, the parents presented their first check to the school board for $8,000.

So it came as somewhat of a shock to parents and students alike when they recently heard they’d be funding the program again. Through a whirlwind of fundraising activities and large donations, Ms. Adams said they “just got it done.”

The remaining $2,000 required to run the girls’ varsity lacrosse team will come at an as yet undecided future date.

Approval of the program had been contingent upon the booster club’s check clearing. Last year the school had some trouble with funding for the team. School Business Executive Natascha Jock said that last year’s initial check for the team bounced, although the money was eventually transferred over.

And that check was again only a partial amount of the total needed to run the team, Ms. Collins said. The school only received the remaining money when they threatened to not let the girls go to playoffs.

Ms. Adams said the initial check bouncing last year could have something to do with the money being stored with the Bank of Montreal and the foreign exchange rate.

Through a girls’ youth lacrosse program Ms. Adams co-founded with Tisha Thompson, parents have been able to form a booster club for girls’ varsity lacrosse and hold numerous fundraisers over the years including a zumbathon, fashion show, raffles, luncheons, dancers and traditional dinners.

“Funding the SRCS girls’ lacrosse for the past four years has been everything we are about, as parents and community members,” Ms. Adams said. “I have witnessed these young ladies... grow and develop into strong skilled, determined and spirited role models who I hope will go and carry these characters traits with them as they graduate.”

Ms. Adams and Ms. Thompson founded Akwesasne Attack, the girls’ youth program, some years ago. While they first started with only eight girls, now the program has grown to more than 100 girls from grades one to grade nine.

As players grew up and began graduating from the program, both women recognized that Salmon River was one of the only school districts in the area that did not offer a high school girls’ varsity team.

Ms. Adams said she can only hope that the program will become permanently included in Salmon River’s spring sports offerings for future years. The booster club has not yet had the opportunity to approach the school on possibly including girl’s lacrosse in next year’s budget.

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