Three years ago, the futures of the golf and swimming programs at McPherson High School were in serious doubt.
The USD 418 Board of Education voted to eliminate half of the district funding for the two programs starting in the 2010-2011 school year, a cost saving measure that eliminated $2,250 for golf and $7,000 for swimming from the district’s coffers.
The anticipation was these cuts were to last for five years, but the fund raising efforts of a dedicated group of parents, community members and the McPherson High Booster Club led to a an outpouring of support for the two programs. Their efforts culminated in a Nov. 27 decision by the school board to reinstate full funding to the two programs.
Bart Regier, McPherson, has two daughters who were active in the swimming program.
Mariah graduated in May, while Cheyenne is currently training for her senior season.
“That was their sport, and they were good at it,” Regier said. “When (the decision to cut funding) actually happened, we knew we had to do something.”
Several of the swim team parents, including the Regiers, Kip and Chris Goodson, Lynn Underwood and Bill Glazer, began organizing various fundraisers, such as a fireworks stand and car washes. Regier also credited the McPherson High School Booster Club for helping to raise $21,000 in support of the program.
“The booster club was gigantic,” Regier said. “They came in that first year and dropped a chunk of money.”
The athletes were just as passionate as the parents in keeping both the golf and swim teams going, helping out where they could in raising money.
“As a group of swim parents we knew that the program was very important to the kids ,” Chris Goodson, whose son, Derick, competes as a senior, said. “For my family, it was very important that swimming continue as a sport at the high school. It allowed my boys to participate in high school activities.
“Without this sport, neither one would have been very active in school, and we know success in high school is often measured by how kids are connected to their peers.”
Those interested in keeping the golf program afloat began working on ideas, as well.
Greg Warren, McPherson, said a golf tournament was organized at Turkey Creek Golf Course that solicited free- will donations from participants.
“We raised enough from it to fund the program for a couple of years,” Warren said.
The funds, $4,200 in total for the golf program, were given to the McPherson County Community Foundation for distribution.
Those funds that had been raised prior to the decision to re-fund the programs will be kept with the Foundation in anticipation of future similar needs.
Goodson was grateful to the school board for re-instating the full funding, but also expressed thanks to all those from around the community that helped along the way.
“It was wonderful for the kids to see the local community rally around them and offer support,” Goodson said. “It really showed them that they mattered and were truly an important part of McPherson.”