Thursday, September 11, 2014

Field opening celebration

Watervliet's varsity football team will kick off the first home game of the 2014 season on Friday, September 12 in a big way: hosting Voorheesville under the lights for the first time on the high school's new turf field.

Seems like not so long ago, we just broke ground on the site of the new field and track. Now here we are approximately 16 months later, and our student athlete teams have held practices and scrimmages in this state-of-the-art-facility—preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play the very first home game “under the lights.”

Before the game, we will mark this special occasion with a brief grand opening ceremony to recognize and to thank those who have worked diligently throughout the process to make this a reality for our students and our community.

It’s symbolic that this beautiful new facility is situated directly alongside our majestic and historic Junior-Senior High School building. It serves as a reminder of the importance the athletic program has on the overall education of our students. Research suggests a strong and positive correlation between high school sports participation and academic achievement. Interscholastic sports also teaches life lessons and builds character by strengthening responsibility, leadership, teamwork, and more.

For this, I personally want to thank the community without whose support this project would not have been possible. In December 2011, Watervliet residents approved the construction of the turf field and six-lane track as part of a larger $18.9 million project. With your approval, we were also able to invest funding in renovations to classrooms and other learning spaces in both school buildings; new seating, sound system, lighting and stage rigging in the high school auditorium; roof replacement at the elementary school; upgrades to the heating and ventilation systems and the installation of energy-efficient windows district-wide.

You may recall that the school district utilized a combination of Qualified Construction Bonds and state building aid to have the facilities improvements done at no additional cost to local taxpayers.

Upcoming golf tournament to raise funds for extracurricular opportunities for Watervliet students

I believe that without extracurricular opportunities such as athletics, our dropout rate would soar and our graduation rate would plummet. Because of harsh fiscal realities during the past several years, our district has had to make difficult choices including the elimination of many extracurricular programs at both the elementary and secondary level. 

Last year, we were able to restore several of our programs thanks to the generosity of the Arsenal Partnership, which raised more than $16,000 for the school district during its annual golf outing. The Partnership is hosting a golf tournament this year on Monday, September 22 to benefit our schools. I encourage community members and readers of my blog to participate in the upcoming Arsenal Partnership golf tournament. Please register to golf on that day, donate a raffle item or make a sponsorship donation. Information on the upcoming tournament is available here.

In the meantime, I hope that you will join us for Friday’s night home opener to cheer on our student athletes and check out the school district’s beautiful new athletic field under the lights. Go ‘Vliet!