New Wrangell Athletic Club ready to start fundraising for state travel

The newly created Wrangell Athletic Club is ready to start fundraising to cover student travel expenses for state competition.

The group will focus on the state swim meet later this month, followed by the volleyball and wrestling championships in December.

The group held its third organizing meeting on Oct. 25, looking to start fundraising efforts in time for the competitions.

The school board is scheduled to meet Nov. 16 to consider an administration recommendation to draw from reserve funds to cover a $44,000 deficit for state event travel expenses in the 2022-2023 school year.

The board, however, has made clear it cannot pay for state travel expenses this year or in the future years. It is looking to the Wrangell Athletic Club to step in and help.

For the immediate future, all funds raised would be used for travel to state championships, club president Mason Villarma said the day after the Oct. 25 meeting. “Unless a donor wants to restrict funds for a specific purpose, it will be used for state travel.”

He said the club’s fundraising efforts would run through the rest of the school year. “The programs that would be considered for state travel are cheer, cross country, swim, volleyball, wrestling and basketball,” he said.

The effort will continue into the spring. “We’re looking at an annual auction in the springtime at the Nolan Center to showcase all our athletes,” Villarma said. “We’ll have an awards banquet as well as a fundraising opportunity and an opportunity to offer possible scholarships.”

He told the organization’s board that he had conferred with Schools Superintendent Bill Burr and they agreed the schools would book the hotels and transportation for state travel and the club would provide funding to reimburse most of those expenses.

Club treasurer Jamie Roberts proposed that someone from the organization regularly attend school board meetings, acting as liaison for the club. “Making sure that we have representation so that, not only are we able to speak on our own behalf and funnel money to the school, but we also are up to date on what’s happening on their end,” she said.

The organization had agreed in earlier meetings that fundraising would be done through mailings and person-to-person meetings with residents. The group is finishing work on its bylaws.

At the Oct. 25 meeting, club secretary Leslie Cummings showed the booster plaques and banners created by Josh Blatchley that will be offered to donors who make a significant contribution. She also presented the group with its first donation, coming from the Episcopal Church.


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