NFA crew team gets a reprieve
During a meeting last week, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to reinstate the Newburgh Free Academy (NFA) Boys and Girls Varsity Crew teams for the 2012-2013 school year.
The decision is contingent upon the team funding itself, which supporters say it is prepared to do. According to Coach Ed Kennedy, parents and community members are currently in the process of establishing a non-profit organization (tentatively called “Friends of the NFA Crew Team”) which hopes to the raise money needed to meet the new season’s budget by Jan. 1, 2013.
“We already raised some of the money but we’re going to have our hands full,” said Kennedy, explaining that although the team’s budget reached $46,000 two years ago, it could easily operate with less if it had to. “I know it’s going to be an uphill battle but I’m optimistic.”
To help come up with ideas on how to save, the longtime coach said he reached out to the leader of the Poughkeepsie High School Crew Team, who suggested taking only a few team members on meets to reduce transportation costs. NFA’s team could also attend fewer meets, use old equipment or hire fewer coaches.
“There are logistics that need to be worked out and sacrifices that will need to be made,” Kennedy said.
Sylvia Santiago, mother of Vic Santiago, said she is excited about what the foundation’s efforts will mean for her son and his fellow teammates.
“After experiencing a gamut of emotions this season, the reinstatement of the team finally gave us all relief and direction,” she said. “While we’re concerned about the challenges before us, we’re all committed to trying our best and making the next season a successful one.”
Although she said it is encouraging to have the school district recognize the value that a varsity team brings to the students, it is Santiago’s hope that in the future it will find a way to at least partially fund the team to help alleviate the financial burden on the community.
For his part, Kennedy said he is glad that a positive solution could be found amidst such difficult economic times.
“I appreciate that the school district is giving us this chance,” he said. “As a taxpayer myself I didn’t want to overburden this community. We also didn’t want to take away from other programs or save the crew team at the expense of someone’s job. In the end, it all worked out.”
Anyone interested in donating to Friends of the NFA Crew Team or assisting in the fundraising efforts can contact Kennedy at 845-541-2313.
By Jessica McAleese